Xilinx launches the Alveo U55C targeting HPC and 'Big Data' workloads

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Xilinx has introduced the Alveo U55C data centre accelerator card and a new standards-based, API-driven clustering solution for deploying FPGAs at massive scale.

The Alveo U55C accelerator has been designed to provide much improved performance-per-watt to high performance computing (HPC) and database workloads and easily scales through the Xilinx HPC clustering solution.

Purpose-built for HPC and big data workloads, the Alveo U55C card is the company’s most powerful Alveo accelerator card to date, offering the highest compute density and HBM capacity in the Alveo accelerator portfolio.

Together with the Xilinx RoCE v2-based clustering solution, a broad spectrum of customers with large-scale compute workloads can now implement powerful FPGA-based HPC clustering using their existing data centre infrastructure and network.

“Scaling out Alveo compute capabilities to target HPC workloads is now easier, more efficient and more powerful than ever,” said Salil Raje, executive vice president and general manager, Data Center Group at Xilinx. “Architecturally, FPGA-based accelerators like Alveo cards provide the highest performance at the lowest cost for many compute-intensive workloads. By introducing a standards-based methodology that enables the creation of Alveo HPC clusters using a customer’s existing infrastructure and network, we’re delivering those key advantages at massive scale to any data centre. This is a major leap forward for even broader adoption of Alveo and adaptive computing throughout the data centre.”

The Alveo U55C card delivers more parallelism of data pipelines, superior memory management, optimised data movement throughout the pipeline, and the highest performance-per-watt in the Alveo portfolio.

The card is a single-slot full height, half length (FHHL) form factor with a low 150W max power. It doubles the HBM2 to 16GB compared to its predecessor, the dual-slot Alveo U280 card. The U55C provides more compute in a smaller form factor for creating dense Alveo accelerator-based clusters. It’s built for high-density streaming data, high IO math, and big compute problems that require scale out like big data analytics and AI applications.

MPI integration allows for HPC developers to scale out Alveo data pipelining from the Xilinx Vitis unified software platform and by utilising existing open standards and frameworks, it’s now possible to scale out across hundreds of Alveo cards regardless of the server platforms and network infrastructure and with shared workloads and memory.

Software developers and data scientists will be able to access the benefits of Alveo and adaptive computing through high-level programmability of both the application and cluster utilising the Vitis platform.

Xilinx has invested heavily in the Vitis development platform and tools flow to make adaptive computing more accessible to software developers and data scientists without hardware expertise.

The major AI frameworks like Pytorch and Tensorflow are supported, as well as high-level programming languages like C, C++ and Python, allowing developers to build domain solutions using specific APIs and libraries, or utilise Xilinx software development kits, to accelerate key HPC workloads within an existing data centre.