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Intel announces portfolio update for AI-focused solutions

23 Jun 2020

Intel has introduced its 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and additions to its hardware and software AI portfolio, designed for AI and analytics workloads running in data centre, network and intelligent-edge environments.

As the industry’s first mainstream server processor with built-in bfloat16 support, Intel’s new 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors make artificial intelligence (AI) inference and training more widely deployable on general-purpose CPUs for applications that include image classification, recommendation engines, speech recognition and language modelling.

“The ability to rapidly deploy AI and data analytics is essential for today’s businesses. We remain committed to enhancing built-in AI acceleration and software optimisations within the processor that powers the world’s data centre and edge solutions, as well as delivering an unmatched silicon foundation to unleash insight from data.” says Intel corporate vice president and Xeon and memory group general manager Lisa Spelman.

IDC predicts that by 2021, 75% of commercial enterprise apps will use AI and by 2025, that roughly a quarter of all data generated will be created in real time, with various internet of things (IoT) devices creating 95% of that volume growth.

3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

The 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors have bfloat16 support integrated into the processor’s unique Intel DL Boost technology. 

bfloat16 is a compact numeric format that uses half the bits as today’s FP32 format but achieves comparable model accuracy with minimal (if any) software changes required. 

The addition of bfloat16 support accelerates both AI training and inference performance in the CPU. 

Intel-optimised distributions for leading deep learning frameworks (including TensorFlow and Pytorch) support bfloat16 and are available through the Intel AI Analytics toolkit. 

Intel also delivers bfloat16 optimisations into its OpenVINO toolkit and the ONNX Runtime environment to ease inference deployments.

The 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors (codenamed “Cooper Lake”) build on Intel’s 4- and 8-socket processor offering. 

The processor is designed for deep learning, virtual machine (VM) density, in-memory database, mission-critical applications and analytics-intensive workloads. 

Customers refreshing aging infrastructure can expect an average estimated gain of 1.9x on popular workloads and up to 2.2x more VMs4 compared with 5-year-old, 4-socket platform equivalents.

Intel Optane Persistent Memory

As part of the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform, the company also announced the Intel Optane persistent memory 200 series, providing customers up to 4.5TB of memory per socket to manage data intensive workloads, such as in-memory databases, dense virtualisation, analytics and high-powered computing.

Intel 3D NAND SSDs

For systems that store data in all-flash arrays, Intel announced the availability of its next-generation high-capacity Intel 3D NAND SSDs, the Intel SSD D7-P5500 and P5600. 

These 3D NAND SSDs are built with Intel’s latest triple-level cell (TLC) 3D NAND technology and an all-new low-latency PCIe controller to meet the intense IO requirements of AI and analytics workloads and advanced features to improve IT efficiency and data security.

First Intel AI-Optimised FPGA

The upcoming Stratix 10 NX FPGAs are Intel’s first AI-optimised FPGAs targeted for high-bandwidth, low-latency AI acceleration. 

These FPGAs will offer customers customisable, reconfigurable and scalable AI acceleration for compute-demanding applications such as natural language processing and fraud detection. 

Stratix 10 NX FPGAs include integrated high-bandwidth memory (HBM), high-performance networking capabilities and new AI-optimised arithmetic blocks called AI Tensor Blocks, which contain dense arrays of lower-precision multipliers typically used for AI model arithmetic.

OneAPI Cross-Architecture Development

As Intel expands its advanced AI product portfolio to meet diverse customer needs, it is also paving the way to simplify heterogeneous programming for developers with its oneAPI cross-architecture tools portfolio. 

With these tools, developers can accelerate AI workloads across Intel CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs, and future-proof their code for the next generations of Intel processors and accelerators.

Enhanced Intel Select Solutions Portfolio Address IT’s Top Requirements

Announced today are 3 new and 5 enhanced Intel Select Solutions focused on analytics, AI and hyper-converged infrastructure. 

The enhanced Intel Select Solution for Genomics Analytics is being used around the world to find a vaccine for COVID-19 and the new Intel Select Solution for VMware Horizon VDI on vSAN is being used to enhance remote learning.

Availability 

The 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane persistent memory 200 series are shipping to customers today. 

General OEM systems availability is expected in 2H 2020. 

The Intel SSD D7-P5500 and P5600 3D NAND SSDs are available today and the Intel Stratix 10 NX FPGA is expected to be available in the 2H 2020.