Firm behind software used by AMD, Nvidia to make GPU and CPUs quietly unveils its own supercomputer — as it appears to emulate Apple by bringing hardware and software closer together

Cadence M1
(Image credit: Cadence)

Cadence Design Systems, the company known for its software used by AMD and Nvidia to design CPUs and GPUs, has quietly stepped into the supercomputer business. 

In a move reminiscent of Apple's strategy of aligning hardware and software, Cadence unveiled its own supercomputer, the M1, designed to run computational fluid dynamics (CFD) at large scale and high speed.

The M1 is part of Cadence's new Millennium Enterprise Multiphysics Platform, which also includes the first generation of AI-assisted CFD software. This software, also called M1, is a GPU-resident version of the large eddy CFD simulator from Cadence's Fidelity CFD suite. With this combination, Cadence aims to provide a two orders of magnitude improvement in the accuracy, speed, and scale of CFD simulations among industries such as aerospace, defense, automotive, electronics, and industrial design.

Nvidia and AMD hardware

The Millennium supercomputer is unique in its design, based on CPU hosts with GPU accelerators and high-speed interconnects, similar to other AI and HPC supercomputers. Cadence has not revealed its specific choice of compute engines or interconnects, but it is believed to have chosen Intel Xeon SP and AMD Epyc server processors for hosts and Nvidia A100 and H100 and AMD Instinct MI250X and MI300X accelerators as the main compute power in the Millennium system. 

What sets Cadence's supercomputer apart is that the solvers at the heart of the Fidelity M1 large eddy simulator are resident in the GPUs. This means the M1 code runs natively on the GPUs in its entirety, unlike many other GPU-accelerated applications. 

“GPU computing in CFD is still quite new,” Alex Gatzemeier, product management director for CFD at Cadence, told The Next Platform. “Most of our customers, and basically most of the industry, is still relying heavily on CPU-based HPC systems. CFD is not the same size and scale as AI is on GPUs today, but it is still difficult to get GPUs, it’s difficult to tune them to scale across say ten or twenty nodes in the cloud. That’s still a challenge. Millennium provides a turnkey solution. So there’s no it overhead, you can basically go to the cloud and start in minutes. Or you get Millennium shipped to your own datacenter, you connect as many nodes as you need.”

While the pricing has not yet been disclosed, you can find out more about the M1 on Cadence's site.

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Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.