A critical benchmarking test indicates that a processing-in-memory (PIM) chip designed and prototyped at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute is delivering the speedup designers hoped.
A team of ISI computer scientists led by software specialist Mary Hall and chip designer Jeff Draper earlier this year successfully integrated the new PIM chip, called "Godiva," into a Hewlett-Packard Long’s Peak Server. Hall and Draper will discuss their work at the SC2004 High Performance Computing Conference Nov. 8-10 in Pittsburgh PA. The Godiva chip uses a DDR-DRAM interface and "the server uses it as if it were standard memory," said Hall.
ISI has completed StreamAdd benchmarking, which measures memory bandwidth, on a single Godiva chip running as part of the Long’s Peak system. The result: the measured throughput of the Godiva chip and the original-equipment Itanium chip is roughly the same. "But our chip uses only one hundredth the electrical power of the Itanium," noted Draper. Like other PIM chips, Godiva is an effort to minimize the communication bottleneck that takes place when processing chips have to go back and forth to separate memory chips to get data for computations, and then store the results. "The theory," said Draper, "is that a PIM chip can keep results and data in its own memory, resulting in dramatic gains in speed. We now see these results in actual benchmarking."
Eric Mankin | EurekAlert!
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