Fujitsu has revealed that the company is prepping the successor for its A64FX processor for high-performance computing. The company's second-generation Arm-based server CPU is slated to offer considerably higher performance and energy efficiency than its predecessor, as well as will add features to address AI and data analytics applications. The CPU is codenamed Monaka and it will arrive sometimes in 2027 and will power a next-generation supercomputer due in 2028.

Like the original A64FX, Fujitsu's Monaka will once again be an Arm ISA processor. But it will also integrate hardware to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics applications, according to details released by the company at its ActivateNow: Technology Summit at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, reports The Register.

The promise to boost performance in traditional HPC and emerging AI workloads is logical. Although Fujitsu's existing A64FX already has support for 512-bit Scalable Vector Extensions (SVE) and can operate in FP64, FP32, FP16 and INT8 modes for a variety of AI and traditional supercomputer applications, the rapidly developing field of AI workloads has been adopting new data formats beyond FP16 and INT8. Meanwhile, Retaining the Arm architecture will ensure that the Monaka processor will be able to run code developed for the original A64FX CPU as well as other Arm-based system-on-chips for datacenters. 

"The next-generation DC CPU (Monaka) that we are developing will have a wider range of features and will prove more energy efficient," a Fujitsu spokesperson told The Register. "The range of potential applications is wider than that of the A64FX, which has special characteristics (e.g., interconnects) specific to Fugaku. 

One of Fujitsu's main goals with Monaka is to provide 'overwhelming energy efficiency' when compared with competing processors available at the time, claims The Register citing the company's officials. The firm is aiming to deliver 70% higher overall performance and 100% higher performance-per-watt than competing chips. Though with delivery not expected until 2027, it goes without saying that any competitive performance expectations are aspirational at best.

Fujitsu's current 48+4-core A64FX processor for HPC has proven that the Arm architecture is perfectly capable of powering supercomputers, in this case Fugaku, which was the world's fastest supercomputer from 2020 to 2022. But the CPU is chiefly tailored for traditional supercomputer workloads, and as a result it's only been used in a handful of systems, including Fugaku, Fujitsu's PrimeHPC FX700 and FX1000 systems (which are available for purchase), and HPE's Apollo 80 HPC platform.

Monaka, in turn, will allow Fujitsu to take a stab at supplying the broader HPC market with a high performance Arm processor. While the company isn't offering specific technical details at this time, they are making it clear that they're designing the chip for a wider audience, as opposed to the supercomputer-focused A64FX and its niche features like on-package HBM2 and the Tofu Interconnect D fabric to connect multiple nodes in a cluster. Shifting to a broader audience opens up more sales opportunities for Fujitsu, but it will put the company in more direct competition with other Arm server CPU vendors such as NVIDIA, Ampere, and the many internal projects at hyperscalers.

In any case, it'll be interesting to see how things unfold once Monaka arrives in 2027. The Arm server CPU market has quickly blossomed over the last few years, so by the time Monaka hits the scene, it's going to be coming into a market with lots of opportunity for Arm servers and Arm software, but also a market with no shortage of companies trying to claim their piece of the pie.

Source: The Register

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  • brucethemoose - Monday, March 13, 2023 - link

    We will see.

    The slides make it sound more like a server CPU with some accelerators, not something with a weird core/memory config like the A64FX, but I too hope it stats weird.
  • mode_13h - Monday, March 13, 2023 - link

    In significant ways, Intel's Xeon Max (Sapphire Rapids w/ HBM) follows in the footsteps of A64FX. It has dual- 512-bit SIMD per core + HBM and an advanced interconnect (CXL). Core count is also similar. So, you could say we're seeing a convergence between HPC and more mainstream server CPUs.

    One distinct advantage Xeon Max has is its AMX engines.
  • brucethemoose - Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - link

    The Xeon Max uses humongous server cores, and the core count is similar b/c of the newer process.

    If they were AVX512 Gracemont cores (which would triple the core count, maybe?), then it would resemble the A64FX much more closely.
  • mode_13h - Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - link

    Point taken about the big cores.

    In a way, you might see the A64FX as taking a page from the Xeon Phi's playbook. However, I'm sure their cores were more competent. I wonder how much better KNL would've been, had it used Gracemont cores instead of Silvermont. Not enough to save it, but perhaps enough to count?
  • BushLin - Sunday, March 12, 2023 - link

    I could be misinterpreting your post but it looks like you're confusing requirements for a cheap home lab with the requirements of an organization with compute work that scales to many racks or even buildings.
  • mode_13h - Monday, March 13, 2023 - link

    > Specialized use cases with custom IP blocks for acceleration of specific workloads.
    > That's what ARM is best at.

    Ampere Altra and Amazon Graviton 2 & 3 are both competent server CPUs with no workload-specific IP blocks. I think you're confusing mobile SoCs with server CPUs, here. Take a look at Nvidia's Grace CPU, as well.

    > That's the beauty of x86, I look forward to own a Xeon / EPYC system hopefully soon.

    Cool, but this isn't being made for home users like you. It's being made for datacenter and HPC customers.

    Most of these CPUs will be deployed and used in the cloud. The necessary ecosystem support for ARM servers already exists. Last year, Microsoft deployed Altra nodes on Azure, and Google is rumored to be developing its own ARM-based server CPU.
  • brucethemoose - Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - link

    Not sure about Ampere, but I suspect Amazon will *gravitate* towards accelerators soon enough.
  • mode_13h - Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - link

    Amazon already has their own AI chips. Maybe they'll join AMD, Nvidia, and Intel in making a MCM which combines them with CPU dies, or maybe not.

    I think we should note that Nvidia's approach is the loosest coupling, with their GPU Compute dies in a physically distinct package that merely has the ability to be paired with a CPU on the same daughter card. So, it's not as if they've all embraced the concept of pairing both in the same package.
  • Dizoja86 - Monday, March 13, 2023 - link

    Anyone else read the headline and wonder why any company would still be using Athlon 64 FX's?
  • mode_13h - Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - link

    LOL, not if you were paying attention when the original A64FX launched. Most of us got that sorted out, back then.

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