AMD Awarded $32 Million FastForward2 Contract

Today ​AMD announced that for the third straight year it was awarded research grants for development of critical technologies needed for extreme-scale computing in conjunction with projects associated with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Extreme-Scale Computing Research and Development Program, known as “FastForward 2.”

UHPC is out. FastForward is in.

A Feature Interview with NVIDIA’s Bill Dally

The Exascale Report: On the heels of the recent FastForward program announcements, let’s take just a few steps back to frame our discussion. The FastForward program has been launched just as DARPA’s UHPC program has come to a close. Would you consider the UHPC program as being successful?

Bill Dally: I think for NVIDIA it’s been very successful. With our Echelon project, we’ve really moved the needle and made a number of very fundamental advances in technologies that are important for future HPC machines, ranging from new, low power circuit designs, to novel, very efficient energy architectures, to advances in programming languages, auto tuning, and various software development technologies. So, for us, I think there are a bunch of very tangible results that we’ve achieved under the UHPC program that are going to make a big difference in HPC in the future. One piece of evidence for that is that we’ve had 17 peer-reviewed scientific publications come out of NVIDIA’s part of the UHPC program.

Will FastForward Be Fast Enough?

Unless you’ve been camped out in a doomsday fallout shelter, you must already be aware of the Department of Energy’s FastForward program awards, most of which were announced over the past few weeks by the vendors receiving those funding awards. Most, but not all. At least not that we’ve seen.

The total amount handed out to date as part of the DOE’s FastForward program is $62.5 million. That would be mildly impressive if it was all going to one vendor – or to one specific topic of research. But that amount has been disbursed among five (5) different vendors, covering three research areas, and stretched out over two years.

Yes, we said five vendors. Not just the four vendors as being reported in the other outlets. Whittling down the list from a total of 26 responses to DOE’s RFP, of which 10 focused on processors, 7 on memory and 9 on storage, the funding awards went to (in alphabetical order), AMD, IBM, Intel Federal, NVIDIA, and Whamcloud.