In a nutshell: Indiana University has announced that its Big Red 200 supercomputer will be upgraded with new, unreleased Nvidia hardware by fall this year. Consider the Ampere architecture confirmed.

The Big Red 200 is a new $9.6 million supercomputer being built for Indiana University. It was originally designed to use Tesla V100 GPUs, but at the last minute, Nvidia offered to upgrade it with the V100’s successor, probably called the Tesla A100. The upgrade brought its theoretical FP64 performance up from 6 PetaFLOPS to just under 8 PetaFLOPS.

The new GPUs won’t arrive in time for Big Red’s original schedule, so Indiana University has split its construction into two phases. The first is the CPU powered half. Built on the Cray Shasta architecture, each of 672 nodes will have two 64-core AMD Epyc 7742 processors. That’s 128 cores per node, and 86,016 cores in total. The first phase is expected to come online soon.

The second phase will introduce 256 of Nvidia’s new “Tensor Core GPUs” in additional nodes. These nodes are described as being “architecturally similar” to the Perlmutter’s (another supercomputer). If that’s accurate, then each node will have four GPUs and one AMD Epyc 7742. This would bring Big Red’s total CPU core count to 90,112.

"The combination of the AMD Rome CPUs and the next-generation NVIDIA Tensor Core GPUs are well-matched to the needs of IU researchers for simulation, AI, and many forms of research” - Brad Wheeler

Intriguingly, Indiana University’s CIO Brad Wheeler has described the new GPUs as being 70-75% more powerful than a Tesla V100. The V100 has between 7 and 8.2 TeraFLOPS at FP64, implying that this new card could have 13±1 TeraFLOPS.

It’s also possible to work backward from a total system performance bracket of ~8 PetaFLOPS. Doing so yields a per GPU theoretical performance bracket of 14.5±0.8 TeraFLOPS.

Both those estimates would be too unreliable to be worth mentioning if they weren’t so close to each other. As is though, they’re some food for thought.