Arm Research Summit: Achieving a Connected World
The Arm research summit took place this week. Check out these highlights on Moore's Law, supercomputers, and neural networks.
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This week, in Cambridge, UK, Arm held a research summit for academics, researchers and industry experts to meet to discuss the latest developments in computing research. The focus of the summit was how to achieve a truly connected world, aiming to explore the social, cultural and economic impact of a future that links together over one trillion devices.
The team at Arm Research have put together a YouTube channel with all the videos from the sessions. To find out which may be of interest, I’d recommend that you first head to the event’s agenda website, pick out what you want to watch, and then hit YouTube. Here are my pick of three presentations from the summit.
The CTO’s keynote. Mike Muller spoke, among other things, about how Moore’s Law is slowing, and what he thinks that means. For consumers, it doesn’t mean that innovation stops. The technology industry will continue to deliver products with increasingly more performance that do more. If you are the one building those products, you may need to innovate differently. As he says unsympathetically, “...it may get a bit harder. Sorry. Get over it”.
Also tackling the subject of the slowing down of Moore’s law, Prof. Trevor Mudge from the University of Michigan gave a presentation called “The Explosion in Neural Network Hardware.” He discussed the reasons why dozens of silicon startups in the US have found funding for building new neural network architectures (apparently over 1.5 billion dollars in venture funding has already been released). Accelerators such as neural networks are increasing in popularity as a way to increase power and performance as Moore’s law decelerates, brought about by the declining return on investment.
Finally, the High-Performance Compute session yielded some interesting presentations. Dr James Price from the University of Bristol spoke about Isambard, the world’s first Arm-based production supercomputer. Isambard is a tier 2 HPC service, a regional supercomputer backed by the GW4 consortium, aiming to pick up work that currently runs on the national tier 1 supercomputer, Archer.
The supercomputer should be up and running within a few weeks, with early results coming in November. When online, Isambard will be available for any scientist with EPSRC funding to apply for compute time. Dr Price spoke at length about the ongoing benchmarking carried out through hackathons, ensuring that the tests cover scientific use cases that are representative of expected, real, workloads.
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