SiFive demoes four-way RISC-V cluster for HPC applications
SiFive is continuing to push the current limits of the RISC-V architecture in an effort to offer a viable alternative for the x86 and ARM ISAs. At this year’s RISC-V summit, SiFive announced a collaboration with AB Open to create a rack-mount RISC-V cluster of four HiFive Unmatched motherboards that can be used to develop high-performance compute applications.
The HiFive Unmatched motherboards were primarily designed for desktop PC use, but SiFive is now demonstrating that this platform can also scale for HPC applications. Each of the four motherboards integrates a Freedom U740 SoCs and AB Open also includes a HiFive1 Rev. B dev board that handles the on/off states for the motherboards. Since, the HiFive Unmatched platform is designed for desktop PC use cases, each motherboard comes with its own PCIe 3.0 lanes, M.2 slots, GbE NIC and the usual USB ports. The HiFive Rev. B board is essentially used to deliver power from the main power supply to the four Pico-ATX power supplies attached to each motherboard, as well as provide power for the cooling fans and control the GbE ports.
Even though the Freedom U740 processors are not specifically targeting HPC applications, the four-way cluster demonstrates how the HiFive platform can be adapted for other purposes. SiFive plans to release 128-core processors that are more in line with current HPC demands, but those will most likely be ready in a couple of years. Meanwhile, SiFive and its partners are laying the software groundwork, enabling developers to code HPC applications for the upcoming scalar processors on the prototype four-way racks.