ASSET attends the Open Compute Project Engineering Workshop

This past week, I sat in on some workshops of the Open Compute Project (OCP) in Dallas, TX. There are a lot of exciting things happening in the world of open source hardware and software.

Held in Dallas, TX on September 26, 2017, the OPC Engineering Workshops cover the “state-of-the-nation” of the OCP Projects: Datacenter, Hardware Management, Rack & Power, Server & Mezzanine Card, and Telco. The slides and some videos are available here. I especially enjoyed the excellent presentations on OpenBMC and the upcoming open-source disclosure of the Microsoft Project Olympus server designs.

Mark Shaw of Microsoft shared the current status on Project Olympus, Microsoft’s Intel Xeon Scalable Processor Family (also known as Purley, or Skylake-EP) design. This is next-generation cloud hardware designed with the intent to bootstrap a vibrant ecosystem in OCP for the next generation of datacenter hardware. Currently, there are five motherboards and a GPU chassis built and underway, and the specifications are about 66% complete for public disclosure on the Github: https://github.com/opencomputeproject/Project_Olympus. And there’s support for Intel Xeon Scalable Platform, AMD Epyc, Qualcomm, Cavium and NVIDIA Volta configurations.

1U server Project Olympus AMD Project Olympus Qualcomm Cavium Project Olympus NVIDIA Project Olympus
One thing I’m keenly interested in is the intersection between the OCP hardware platforms and Microsoft’s Project Brainwave. This is a new deep learning acceleration platform that leverages off Microsoft’s huge investment in FPGAs as deep neural network (DNN) hardware engines.

Of course, if there is an FPGA on-board, it can be purposed in parallel for acting as a hardware-assisted JTAG Master for ASSET’s ScanWorks Embedded Diagnostics (SED) solution. SED is an at-scale debug product for remote forensics retrieval and analysis. This is documented in our Technical Overview document (note: requires registration).

Alan Sguigna