In addition to being one of the most powerful computers in the world and currently ranked 105 on the Top500 list, France’s Jean Zay supercomputer is now the first HPC to have a photonic coprocessor.
Unlike traditional processors that use electrical current, LightOn’s photonic coprocessor transmits and processes information using light. The company’s photonic coprocessor was added to the Jean Zay supercomputer under a pilot program with GENCI and IDRIS and represents not only a technological advance but also an industry first.
So far, LightOn’s technology has been used successfully by a community of researchers since 2018.
Now, however, its photonic coprocessor will be available to selected users from the Jean Zay research community for the next several months who will use the device to conduct research on the fundamentals of machine learning, differential privacy, satellite image analysis, and natural language processing (NLP) tasks. .
LightOn photonic coprocessor
LightOn’s Optical Processing Unit (OPU) uses photonics to accelerate random algorithms on a large scale. However, it also works in conjunction with standard silicon CPUs and Nvidia’s A100 GPU technology.
The company’s OPU Aurora 2 powers its Embedded Computing Unit Appliance, which is built into a 2U form factor so it can be quickly and easily integrated into data centers or, in this case, a supercomputer. According to LightOn, your device can reach a maximum performance of 1.5 PetaOPS at a TDP of 30W and can offer 8 to 40 times greater performance than the acceleration of only GPUs.
LightOn CEO and co-founder Igor Carror provided more information on the pilot program that saw his device embedded in the Jean Zay supercomputer at a Press release, saying:
“This pilot program integrating a new information technology into one of the world’s supercomputers would not have been possible without the particular commitment of visionary agencies such as GENCI and IDRIS / CNRS. Along with the rise of Quantum Computing, this world premiere reinforces our view that the next step after exascale supercomputing will be hybrid computing. “
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Via Tom Hardware