It was recently announced that the Fugaku supercomputer, located at Riken in Japan, has scored the #1 position on the TOP500 supercomputer list, as well as #1 positions in a number of key supercomputer benchmarks. At the heart of Fugaku isn’t any standard x86 processor, but one based on Arm – specifically, the A64FX 48+4-core processor, which uses Arm’s Scalable Vector Extensions (SVE) to enable high-throughput FP64 compute. At 435 PetaFLOPs and 7.3 million cores, Fugaku beat the former #1 system by 2.8x in performance. Currently Fugaku has been used for COVID-19 related research, such as modelling tracking rates or virus in liquid droplet dispersion.

The Fujitsu A64FX card is a unique piece of kit, offering 48 compute cores and 4 control cores, each with monumental bandwidth to keep the 512-bit wide SVE units fed. The chip runs at 2.2 GHz, and can operate in FP64, FP32, FP16 and INT8 modes for a variety of AI applications. There is 1 TB/sec of bandwidth from the 32 GB of HBM2 on each card, and because there are four control cores per chip, it runs by itself without any external host/device situation.

It wasn’t ever clear if the A64FX module would be available on a wider scale beyond supercomputer sales, however today confirms that it is, with the Japanese based HPC Systems set to offer a Fujitsu PrimeHPC FX700 server that contains up to eight A64FX nodes (at 1.8 GHz) within a 2U form factor. Each note is paired with 512 GB of SSD storage and gigabit Ethernet capabilities, with room for expansion (Infiniband EDR etc). The current deal at HPC Systems is for a 2-node implementation, at a price of ¥4,155,330 (~$39000 USD), with the deal running to the end of the year.

The A64FX card already has listed support for quantum chemical calculation software Gaussian16, molecular dynamics software AMBER, non-linear structure analysis software LS-DYNA. Other commercial packages in the structure and fluid analysis fields will be coming on board in due course. There is also Fujitsu’s Software Compiler Package v1.0 to enable developers to build their own software.

Source: HPC Systems, PDF Flyer

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  • GNUminex_l_cowsay - Friday, June 26, 2020 - link

    Did Fujitsu stop using SPARC? Reply
  • jeremyshaw - Friday, June 26, 2020 - link

    Yeah, they abandoned SPARC (with their own custom extensions) in favor of arm-SVE. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Friday, June 26, 2020 - link

    Abandoned or did Larry do what Larry does? Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, June 26, 2020 - link

    This! Oracle stopped any further development of SPARC, and I can see why Fujitsu didn't want to keep paying license fees, royalties and whatever for arch that is basically abandoned. Too bad, SPARC was quite good at handling a large number of threads simultaneously. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, June 27, 2020 - link

    These Chinese are still developing MIPS. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, June 27, 2020 - link

    (Typo: The, not these.) Reply
  • kgardas - Saturday, June 27, 2020 - link

    You are mixing apples and oranges here. (1) Fujitsu have their own SPARC implementation completely uncomparable to Oracle's/Sun's SPARC Mx and Tx so they basically just license SPARC64 ISA. (2) SPARC handling a lot of threads simultaneously is a line of SPARC Tx which Sun Micro purchased as part of some other company and first was SPARC T1 in T1000 and T2000 boxes. Their single-thread performance was really low even at that time.
    (3) IMHO Fujitsu is still able to sell you SPARC box if you like and will be probably also in the foraseeable future. Their A64Fx is just for HPC.
    Reply
  • jeremyshaw - Saturday, June 27, 2020 - link

    AFAIK, Fujitsu has merged their workstation/server/HPC chips for a few generations, now. While the front end of the A64FX isn't really setup for general purpose workloads (definitely HPC), given its narrow nature, it does indicate Fujitsu is moving over to arm sooner or later. They already spend the time moving their SDK over to arm, to support the A64FX. Reply
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