Intel’s new Ponte Vecchio GPUs will work with Arm-based processor architectures instead of exclusively supporting x86 processors, as is currently the case. European chip manufacturer SiPearl kickstarted the first project for combining Ponte Vecchio and Arm.
SiPearl and Intel will work together to develop the first European exascale supercomputers. The project involves combining the Intel Ponte Vecchio GPU with the SiPearl Rhea CPU. The latter HPC processor is based on Arm’s Neoverse V1 design. As such, it appears that Intel is no longer limiting its GPU solutions to x86 processors only. The combination should provide a high-performance compute node that will enable the development of exascale supercomputers.
In addition to combining the hardware, the two sides jointly address several peripheral issues. For example, Intel and SiPearl optimized a low-latency communication pipeline for the GPU and CPU. This so-called Compute Express Link specification facilitates communication between the GPUs, CPUs and other accelerator chips, which promises to be fruitful for AI applications.
Intel and SiPearl have also overcome the software gap between Arm-based processors and the Intel Ponte Vecchio with Intel’s OneAPI. OneAPI allows developers to develop applications for any processor or processor architecture.
Advantage for Intel
According to experts, Intel stands to benefit from the collaboration with SiPearl. Through the partnership, Intel can further expand its activities surrounding supercomputers. The Ponte Vecchio GPU is also used to develop the Aurora supercomputer in combination with Intel Xeon Scalable processors, which primarily serves to compete with Nvidia and gain more foothold in the segment. Seven of the ten largest supercomputers run on Arm technology, which naturally makes a combination very interesting.
Furthermore, by partnering with a European processor manufacturer, Intel gains firmer ground in the EU. The EU is planning to invest heavily in the production of processors in its member states, thereby increasing independence from other regions in the world. Intel is already going to build new chip factories in the EU with adherent subsidies. The collaboration with SiPearl could benefit the American company even more.