As the industry’s first mainstream server processor with built-in bfloat16 support, Intel’s new 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors make 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 business. 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,” Lisa Spelman, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Xeon and Memory Group.
Why it is important: AI and analytics open new opportunities for customers across a broad range of industries, including finance, healthcare, industrial, telecom, and transportation. IDC predicts that by 2021, 75 per cent of enterprise applications will incorporate AI.. And by 2025, IDC estimates that roughly a quarter of all data generated will be created in real-time, with various Internet of Things (IoT) devices creating 95 per cent of that volume growth.
Unequalled portfolio breadth and ecosystem support for AI and analytics: Intel’s new data platforms, coupled with a thriving ecosystem of partners using Intel AI technologies, are optimised for businesses to monetise their data through the deployment of intelligent AI and analytics services.
- New 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors: Intel is further extending its investment in built-in AI acceleration in the new 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, through the integration of bfloat16 support 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 additions 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 Intel Xeon Scalable processors (codenamed “Cooper Lake”) evolve Intel’s 4- and 8-socket processor offering. The processors are designed for deep learning, virtual machine (VM) density, in-memory database, mission-critical applications, and analytics-intensive workloads. Customers refreshing ageing infrastructure can expect an average estimated gain of 1.9x on popular workloads 3 and up to 2.2-times more VMs4 compared with 5-year-old, 4-socket platform equivalents.
- New Intel Optane Persistent Memory for AI and Analytics: 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.
- New 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.
- Intel’s first AI-optimised FPGA: Intel disclosed its upcoming Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGAs, 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. Intel 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 for ongoing AI innovation: 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 to accelerate performance and increase productivity. With these advanced tools, developers can accelerate AI workloads across Intel CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs, and future-proof their code for today’s and next generations of Intel processors and accelerators.
- Enhanced Intel select solutions portfolio address IT’s top requirements: Intel has enhanced its Select Solutions portfolio to accelerate the deployment of IT’s most urgent requirements highlighting the value of pre-verified solution delivery in today’s rapidly evolving business climate. Announced today are three new and five 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.
When products are available: The 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane persistent memory 200 series are shipping to customers today. In May, Facebook announced that 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors are the foundation for its newest Open Compute Platform (OCP) servers, and other leading CSPs, including Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent, have announced they are adopting the next-generation processors. General OEM systems availability is expected in the second half of 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 second half of 2020.
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge, and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better.