Computer AI Engines to Get Big Boost from Larger Chips
Get ready for the MacDaddy of computer chips to come on the scene in October. On August 19, Cerebras Systems unveiled the world’s biggest chip, called the WSE, or “wafer-scale engine,” pronounced “wise.” It’s expected to kick the AI world into high gear.
The Cerebras AI chip measures 8.46×8.46 inches, making it nearly as a large of an iPad and more than 50 times larger than a CPU or GPU. A typical CPU or GPU is about the size of a postage stamp. The chip’s numbers are mind-blowing: 1.2 trillion transistors. Thats trillion with a T. It also has 400,000 computing cores and 18 gigabytes of memory. An average PC has about 12 billion transistors, four to six cores and a few megabytes of memory. It’s a game changer.
The Silicon Valley startup revealed startling computational numbers for the chip last week, prompting the tech media to go ballistic getting out the news. Andt Patrazio’s article in networkworld.com explains the magnitude of its computing power.
“The 400,000 cores on the WSE are connected via the Swarm communication fabric in a 2D mesh with 100 Pb/s of bandwidth,” Patrazio wrote. “The WSE has 18 GB of on-chip memory, all accessible within a single clock cycle, and provides 9 PB/s memory bandwidth. This is 3000x more capacity and 10,000x greater bandwidth than the best Nvidia has to offer. More to the point it eliminates the need to move data in and out of memory to and from the CPU.”
The array of programmable cores provide the cluster-scale computer on a single chip, with high-speed memory and constant calculations. That enables communication to be thousands of times faster than on off-chip technologies like InfiniBand, the company said in a blog post announcing the processor.
Using the supersized chip requires it to be installed in the Cerebras operating system, because the chips require a robust cooling system. Cerebras cools the WSE chips with a massive cold plate sitting above the silicon and vertically mounted water pipes used for direct cooling. Because there’s no traditional package large enough to fit the chip, Cerebras has designed its own.
read more at networkworld.com