7nm Power10 processor gives AI boost

August 17, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
IBM's 7nm Power10 processor made by Samsung
IBM has announced some details of the Power10 processor with a 10x to 20x boost for AI and machine learning in the datacentre

The Power10 processor is designed in a 7nm FinFET manufacturing process and is expected to provide 3x greater processor energy efficiency than the 14nm Power9. The chop is being manufactured for IBM by Samsung. IBM has had a semiconductor R&D collaboration with Samsung for many years.

The Power10 comes in a 30-core version. The Power9, introduced in 2017, which comes in two 24-core versions and two 12-core versions. Systems based on the Power10 are expected to be available in 2H21.

The chip includes processor developments to better support artificial intelligence applications and machine learning. These include an embedded matrix math accelerator for AI inference for FP32, BFloat16 and INT8 calculations.

IBM reckons the Power10 can achieve a 10x to 20x improvement in AI inferencing over the Power9 based in pre-silicon engineering analysis of a variety of workloads (Linpack. Resnet-50 FP32, Resnet-50 BFloat16, and Resnet-50 INT8). This calculated using a Power10 dual socket server offering with two 30-core modules versus a Power9 dual socket server offering with two 12-core modules.

IBM has quadrupled the number of AES encryption engines per core to support quantum-safe cryptography and fully homomorphic encryption (FHE).

"Enterprise-grade hybrid clouds require a robust on-premises and off-site architecture inclusive of hardware and co-optimized software," said Stephen Leonard, general manager of IBM Cognitive Systems, in a statement. "With IBM Power10 we've designed the premier processor for enterprise hybrid cloud, delivering the performance and security that clients expect from IBM. With our stated goal of making Red Hat OpenShift the default choice for hybrid cloud, IBM Power10 brings hardware-based capacity and security enhancements for containers to the IT infrastructure level."

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