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Report: ARM Targets Supercomputers With New Chip Design

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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New chip design to extend ARM’s ambitions from the data centre and into supercomputer territory

British chip designer ARM Holdings has reportedly announced a new chip design that pushes its data centre ambitions out into the supercomputing arena.

Whilst there is no official confirmation yet of the news, it seems that the ARM v8-A with Scalable Vector Extensions design will be used in the Post-K RIKEN supercomputer scheduled for 2020.

Supercomputer Ambitions

According to PC World, the Post-K supercomputer will be developed by Fujitsu and it comes after the Japanese firm announced in June that it was ending its long-term relationship with SPARC architecture in favour of ARM for high performance computing (HPC).

Fujitsu is said to be the first public licensee of the ARM v8-A, and it has reportedly aided the British chip designer in the development of the new chip.

ARM Chip leadAs there is no official announcement of this new chip design yet, details are difficult to get hold of at the time of writing, but it seems that the new design is based on the 64-bit ARM-v8A architecture and has vector processing extensions called Scalable Vector Extension.

It is reported that the Post-K supercomputer will be 50 to 100 times speedier than its predecessor, the K Computer, which is currently the fifth fastest supercomputer in the world.

Softbank Purchase

ARM of course does not manufacture any chips itself and instead licenses its designs to other companies such as Qualcomm. ARM’s low power technology is used the vast majority of mobile devices, but over recent years it has expanded into other areas, such as Internet of Things (IoT) and data centres.

The firm recently revealed that its processor licensing revenues has risen by 24 percent during the second quarter of 2016, which helped push its total revenues up by 17 percent to £267.6 million and profits up by five percent to £130.1 million.

ARM has long been a British tech success story, but last month ARM bought by Japanese giant Softbank for £24 billion. That Japanese firm claimed its new acquisition would help it become a leader in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Quiz: What do you know about ARM?