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An Update On The IEEE 1801-2013 Unified Power Format Standard


It’s been almost six years since the first IEEE 1801 standard was officially published in March of 2009, but the standard can trace its roots back to years before that date. On May 30, 2013 the IEEE released a press announcement for the most recent version of the standard, IEEE 1801-2013 (a.k.a. UPF 2.1). This brought forward a standard for the industry that is finally backed by all of the ma... » read more

New Machine Tops The Green500 List


The Green500 has released its latest list of the top 500 most energy efficient Supercomputers and there is a new machine, L-CSC from the Helmholtz Center that is the first supercomputer to surpass the 5 GigaFLOPS/watt barrier. The machine is yet another heterogeneous system and is based on AMD FirePro S9150 GPU accelerators and Intel Xeon E5-2690v2 10C 3GHz processors. IBM and NVIDIA aren’... » read more

A Decade At The Ceiling


This month marks the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the Intel Pentium 4 HT 570J, which had an advertised operating frequency of 3.8 GHz. It was manufactured in a 90nm process, had a VID voltage range of 1.2V-1.425V and was rated at 115W TDP. In a previous article, Power to Fly, we looked at the graph that I’m including again here below for reference. The microprocessor indu... » read more

Brain-Inspired Power


“Let’s be clear: we have not built the brain, or any brain. We have built a computer that is inspired by the brain. The inputs to and outputs of this computer are spikes. Functionally, it transforms a spatio-temporal stream of input spikes into a spatio-temporal stream of output spikes.” — Dharmendra Modha, IBM Fellow It’s generally a well-accepted principle that the biggest savings... » read more

Wireless 3D Stacking


Hot Chips 26 wrapped up this week and there were many interesting presentations. One of the many presentations that caught my attention was given by Dave Ditzel, CEO of ThruChip, and is titled, “Low-Cost 3D Chip Stacking with ThruChip Wireless.” The technology is as it sounds — a wireless communication path for stacked die. The first question you may be asking is, ‘Why would anyone w... » read more

GPUs Dominate (Again) The Green500 List


The Green500 has released its latest list of the top 500 most energy-efficient Supercomputers. The top 17 are heterogeneous systems (systems that use more than one type of processor), with the top 15 systems all using NVIDIA Kepler K20 GPUs paired with Intel Xeon CPUs. Still at the top of the list is the Tokyo Institute of Technology GSIC Center’s TSUBAME-KFC, an oil-cooled Kepler powered ... » read more

The Power Of eDRAM


In last month’s article we looked at different aspects of technology nodes and the multiple techniques that are used to keep scaling on its path of increasing density. From an energy standpoint, it’s expensive to move data around and with the high bandwidth that’s needed to keep processors “fed,” engineers are looking at ways to keep data closer to the processing logic and minimize th... » read more

A Node By Any Other Name


Have you ever wondered what gives a particular CMOS technology node its name? When we talk about 20nm, 16nm or 14nm, what exactly does that number in front of the “nm” mean anyway? Is it the first layer metal half-pitch or the gate length (and while we’re at it, is that the printed gate length, the physical gate length, or the effective gate length)? The half-pitch refers to half the m... » read more

Favorite Forecast Fallacies


It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. – An Old Danish Proverb. The GSA Silicon Summit was held on Thursday, April 10th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. The opening panel session was entitled Advancements in Nanoscale Processing. The panelists were Rob Aitken (ARM), Adam Brand (Applied Materials), Peter Huang (TSMC), Nick Kepler (VLSI Researc... » read more

The Good Kind Of Regulation


This month I’m taking a page from the Editor’s book, (actually the title for the article here came from Ed Sperling) and I decided that the above title would be fitting for this article. Last September we took a look at IBM’s presentations on their POWER8 processor from HotChips. One of the multiple new interesting aspects of this design was the use of many on-chip integrated voltage regu... » read more

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