OpenPOWER at the International Conference on Supercomputing

Published on Thursday 30 July 2020


Earlier this month, OpenPOWER participated in the International Conference on Supercomputing, co-hosted by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC-BarcelonaTECH) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS). The conference showcased the latest research in high-performance computing systems.

Included in the agenda was a dedicated Workshop on RISC-V and OpenPOWER specifically to discuss alternative instruction set architectures and the growing trend of open source hardware. Workshop organizer John Davis, director of the Laboratory for Open Computer Architecture at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center summarized the current landscape well in his introduction: “It’s a great time to be around, because we have the proliferation of things like RISC-V and OpenPOWER. These are by no means the first, but it seems like the time is right for technology requirements and the success we’ve seen with open source software to translate into the open source hardware space with these open source ISAs.”

Below you can find the abstracts of the OpenPOWER presentations presented at the conference.

OpenPOWER Foundation Update: New leadership and a bright open future

By James Kulina, Executive Director of OpenPOWER

In this talk, James introduces himself as the new Executive Director for the OpenPOWER Foundation and provides a summary of the latest developments within the OpenPOWER community. He also covers what’s ahead for the Foundation as it further integrates and strengthens its collaboration with other Linux Foundation projects.

According to Kulina, “the vision of the OpenPOWER Foundation is to energize our member companies to start devoting energy and resources to drive a thriving ecosystem around collaborative co-development of this common license of POWER IP, cores, tools, software and systems.” He continued, “We want to make it as simple as possible to go from an idea to silicon, or to a system, or to port your software over to the POWER architecture.”

View James’ session on YouTube.

Microwatt and GHDL - An Open Hardware CPU written in VHDL, synthesized with Open Source tools

By Anton Blanchard, Distinguished Engineer at OpenPOWER and Linux Kernel Hacker at IBM, and Tristan Gingold, Hardware Engineer at CERN

Anton and Tristan share an overview of the Microwatt core. Microwatt is a 64 bit POWER ISA soft processor, written in VHDL. Over time it has grown from supporting Micropython, to Zephyr and most recently Linux. The presentation also includes an overview of GHDL and how it can be used for both simulation and synthesis of a medium complexity VHDL project.

View Anton and Tristan’s session on YouTube.

The Open Power ISA: A Summary of Architecture Compliancy Options and the Latest Foundations for Future Expansion

By Brian Thompto, Distinguished Engineer, POWER Processor Architect at IBM

The open POWER ISA enables access to unencumbered open innovation and a mature software ecosystem developed over the last 30 years. In this talk, Brian reviews the major options for architectural compliancy that provide freedom of choice in design, including four recently specified compliancy subsets, separate optional features, and custom extensions.

View Brian’s session on YouTube.

Advanced High-Performance Computing Features of the OpenPOWER ISA

By Jose Moreira, Research Staff Member at IBM

In this presentation, Jose raises awareness and interest in the newest features of the POWER ISA, which he believes can lead to further research in processor architecture and programming environments. Some of the most promising application areas include graph algorithms, classical machine learning and deep learning.

View Jose’s session on YouTube.

If you’re interested in learning more about these sessions or about the OpenPOWER Foundation, consider joining our LinkedIn Group or our Slack workspace where you can connect and collaborate with other OpenPOWER Foundation members.


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