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High Performance Computing in 2018: Hits and Misses

December 19, 2018

Hit: A Breakthrough Year for Arm

For Arm enthusiasts in the HPC community, 2018 will be seen as a watershed year. In the latter half of 2018, Sandia National Laboratories installed Astra, the world’s first petascale supercomputer powered by Arm microprocessors. In the November TOP500 list it was ranked at number 204, turning in a Linpack result of 1.5 petaflops.

A smaller Arm-powered supercomputer, Isambard, was also installed in 2018, in this case at the University of Bristol. A similar machine is headed to the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and was scheduled for completion before the end of the year.

More encouraging is the fact that you can now get an Arm-powered super from a variety of system venders. Astra was supplied by HPE, Isambard is a Cray machine, and the CEA system comes from Atos. The Arm processor behind all these systems is the ThunderX2 chip, a technology now owned by Marvell.”

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