RESEARCH PAPER: The Graphcore Second-Generation IPU

By Patrick Moorhead, Karl Freund - July 15, 2020

Graphcore, the U.K.-based startup that launched the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU) for AI acceleration in 2018, has introduced the IPU-Machine. This second-generation platform has greater processing power, more memory and built-in scalability for handling extremely large parallel processing workloads. The well-funded startup has a blue-ribbon pedigree of engineers, advisers and investors, and enjoys a valuation approaching $2 billion. Its first-generation hardware is now available on the Microsoft Azure cloud as well as in Dell-EMC servers. Both companies are investors. Graphcore is now betting its future on this second-generation platform, a plug-and-play building block for massive scalability that is currently unique in the industry.

You can download the paper by clicking on the logo below:

Table Of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Colossus MK2 IPU (GC200)
  • The IPU-Machine (M2000)
  • The Second-Get IPU-Fabric
  • Updates To The Graphcore Software Stack
  • Performance
  • Conclusions
  • Figure 1: The Graphcore IPU-Machine
  • Figure 2: IPU-Machine M2000 Architectural Diagram
  • Figure 3: IPU-Machine Stacking Options
  • Figure 4: IPU-POD For Super Computing Scale
  • Figure 5: IPU-POD64 Reference Architecture
  • Figure 6: POPLAR SDK
  • Figure 7: IPU-POD Support For Multi-Tenancy
  • Figure 8: Colossus MK2 Performance

Companies Cited

  • Dell EMC
  • Graphcore
  • Microsoft Azure
  • NVIDIA
Patrick Moorhead

Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.