Distinguished Lecture Series

OMI: The Invisible Technology that will Revolutionize Supercomputing and AI

Prof. Harm Peter Hofstee
Delft University of Technology
Distinguished Research Staff, IBM Austin Research Laboratory

3:00pm Thursday 14 February, 2019, ITE325, UMBC

In this talk, we present some major trends in compute, memory/storage, and networking, and for each we will discuss how OpenCAPI Memory Interface (OMI) and related interface technologies are set to transform how we build, program, and think about our computer systems. For the first of these trends, it allows us to compensate for the reduced growth in processor performance (per dollar) and performance per Watt. Accelerators are sharing memory and other resources over NVLink or OpenCAPI with conventional IBM POWER cores and are driving performance in the world’s largest supercomputers and IBM’s systems are targeting AI and other workloads. The second addresses the reduced improvement in memory cost and capacity. OMI allows us to use technologies other than DRAM as memory, and because many of these technologies are nonvolatile, the line between memory and storage is becoming blurred. The third, OpenCAPI-based networking leverages the rapid improvements in cost per Gb/s and allows us to contemplate systems that extend memory beyond the node using commodity infrastructure.

Harm Peter Hofstee is a Dutch physicist and computer scientist who currently is a distinguished research staff member at the IBM Austin Research Laboratory, USA, and a part-time Professor in Big Data Systems at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. Hofstee is best known for his contributions to Heterogeneous computing as the chief architect of the Synergistic Processor Elements in the Cell Broadband Engine processor used in the Sony PlayStation 3, and the first supercomputer to reach sustained Petaflop operation. His early research work on coherently attached reconfigurable acceleration on POWER7 paved the way for the new coherent attach processor interface on POWER8. Hofstee is an IBM Master Inventor with more than 100 issued patents and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology. Hofstee was born in Groningen and obtained his master’s degree in theoretical physics of the University of Groningen in 1988. He continued to study at the California Institute of Technology where he wrote a master’s thesis Constructing Some Distributed Programs in 1991 and obtained a Ph.D. with a thesis titled Synchronizing Processes in 1995. He joined Caltech as a lecturer for two years and moved to IBM in the Austin, Texas, Research Laboratory, where he had staff member, senior technical staff member and distinguished engineer positions.