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The Isambard Project, a GW4 Alliance initiative, today presented the first scaling results from a production, Arm-based supercomputer. Prof. Simon McIntosh-Smith gave the opening technical talk at the Cray User Group (CUG) Conference in Montreal on May 7th, in which he described the results of a detailed scaling performance comparison between Marvell ThunderX2 Arm-based CPUs, and the latest state-of-the-art Skylake x86 processors. Results focused on the HPC codes that are most heavily used on the UK’s national supercomputer, Archer, and showed that for these kinds of workloads, ThunderX2 scales just as well as the best x86 CPUs available today, but with a significant cost advantage.

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The full details of the experiments, such as the compilers used and test cases we tried, are detailed in the full paper. To cite these results, please use the following:

Scaling Results From the First Generation of Arm-based Supercomputers. S. McIntosh-Smith, J. Price, T. Deakin and A. Poenaru, CUG 2019, Montreal, May 2019.

The slides from the talk are also now available. An extended version of the paper with additional results will appear in a special issue of the Journal of Concurrency and Computation: Practise and Experience (CCPE) later this year.

Simon McIntosh-Smith, Professor of High Performance Computing, Head of the HPC Research Group, University of Bristol. Follow @simonmcs on Twitter for more news from the HPC research group in Bristol.