IBM J. Res. Dev

Workload and network-optimized computing systems

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This paper describes a recent system-level trend toward the use of massive on-chip parallelism combined with efficient hardware accelerators and integrated networking to enable new classes of applications and computing-systems functionality. This system transition is driven by semiconductor physics and emerging network-application requirements. In contrast to general-purpose approaches, workload and network-optimized computing provides significant cost, performance, and power advantages relative to historical frequency-scaling approaches in a serial computational model. We highlight the advantages of on-chip network optimization that enables efficient computation and new services at the network edge of the data center. Software and application development challenges are presented, and a service-oriented architecture application example is shown that characterizes the power and performance advantages for these systems. We also discuss a roadmap for next-generation systems that proportionally scale with future networking bandwidth growth rates and employ 3-D chip integration methods for design flexibility and modularity. ©Copyright 2010 by International Business Machines Corporation.