Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Friday, August 23, 2019

AI Drives Demand for Next-Gen Compute Architecture

The world of high-performance computing (HPC) will continue to evolve, as enterprise CIOs and CTOs anticipate the future demands for IT Infrastructure capable of supporting new workloads. That said, there isn't enough computing capability today to process the amount of data being created and stored, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

The processing power required to convert the flood of structured and unstructured data into useful and valuable insights, for a new class of digital business workloads, must now scale faster than Moore's law ever predicted.

HPC Platform Market Development

To address this gap, the computing industry is taking a new path that leverages alternative computing architectures like DSPs, GPUs, FPGAs for acceleration and offloading of computing tasks in order to limit the tax on the general-purpose compute architecture in the system.

IDC believes these architectures are key to the enablement of artificial intelligence (AI), including deep learning models. At the edge; DSPs, FPGAs, and optimized architecture blocks in System on Chips (SoCs) have been more suitable in initial inference applications for robotics, drones, wearables, and other consumer devices like voice-assisted speakers.

The ongoing IDC market study sizes and forecasts data creation, capture, and replication across 70 categories of content-creating things -- including IoT devices. The content is categorized into the types of data being created to understand various trends in usage, consumption, and storage.

The study builds on over twenty years of extensive work in the embedded and computing areas of research at IDC, including leveraging an embedded market model covering about 300 system markets and the key underlying technologies that enable the value of a system.

The study analyzes the shift in the computing paradigm as AI moves from the data center to the edge and endpoint, expanding the choices of computing architectures for each system market as features and optimizations are mapped closer to workloads.

For decades, advancements in process technology, silicon design, and the industry's dedication to Moore's Law predicted the performance gains of microprocessors and transistor functionality and integration in SoCs. These advancements have been instrumental in establishing the cadence of growth and scale of client computing, smartphones, and cloud infrastructure.

To date, microprocessors have been at the very core of computing. However, the story does not end there. IDC believes we are at the beginning of a large market force, as AI becomes more ubiquitous across a broad base of industries and drives intelligence and Inferencing to the edge.

"AI technology will continue to play a critical role in redefining how computing must be implemented in order to meet the growing diversity of devices and applications," said Mario Morales, vice president at IDC.

Outlook for HPC Architecture Transformation

According to the IDC assessment, IT vendors are at the start of their business transformation and what they need from their partners is no longer just products and technology. As an example, to address the IoT and endpoint opportunity, performance must always find a balance with power and efficiency.

Moving forward, IT vendor partners and IT infrastructure buyers will seek open platform ecosystem roadmaps -- not just new semiconductor chips. IDC says this is a fundamental change for technology suppliers in the computing market and only those who adapt will remain relevant. High-performance computing innovations and open hardware architectures will gain new momentum in the market.