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 NVIDIA executes a pivot to the Data Center Announcing the company’s 1Q23 financial results on May 24, 2023, Jensen Huang, the founder and CEO of NVIDIA, reported that the company is seeing “surging demand” for its latest generation of data center hardware products that are a key ingredient in building generative AI models, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot. On that very promising financial guidance from the NVIDIA founder, the company’s stock (NVDA) leaped from $305 to $356 in after-hours trading on Wednesday, up over 16%. When the New York stock exchange re-opened on Thursday, NVDA stock continued to soar upwards, to close at $380 for the day. To put that rise in perspective, back in September 2022, NVDA stock bottomed out at $112, so it’s up more than 300% in the intervening 8 months. In the wake of ChatGPT, which Microsoft has integrated into its Bing Search engine to great effect, other companies are scrambling to catch up, or at least not fall too far behind, what could potential
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On processor performance in the age of multi-core, part 1.

Processor performance in the age of multi-core: RISC vs. CISC, part 1. Reading Apple’s announcement in the news media and trade press about a plan to transition its next generation Mac computers from Intel-manufactured x64 processors to custom ARM chips prompted me to write a blog entry discussingApple’s strategy in greater depth and, hopefully, with more insight than the coverage of the move that published reports provided. An issue raised by one of the computer industry experts that analyzed the Apple announcement was that it might re-ignite an old debate among CPU hardware engineers with regard to the relative virtues of the CISC vs. RISC approaches to processor design. This seems very unlikely to me, and I will attempt to explain why in this post. Basically, RISC has won the engineering battle, but meanwhile Intel has good reasons to continue to resist any breaking changes in its hardware platform that would cause existing x86 and x64 software to fail. What is actually the most i

Analyzing Apple’s decision to migrate Macs from Intel processors to ARM

In late June, Apple announced plans to transition its next generation Mac computers from Intel-manufactured x64 processors to custom ARM chips, something which Apple has branded as “Apple Silicon,” highlighting the provenance of the new hardware. Later this year when the first Apple Silicon-based Macs begin to roll out, the company’s line of Mac portable and desktop computers will be using the same ARM processors that Apple is currently using in its iPhone and iPad  products. While there has been ample coverage of this news in the trade press, much of the commentary I have seen online from various technology pundits ( here is a representative sample analysis from one of these self-anointed experts) misses many key aspects of Apple’s recent decision. Apples’s move warrants a better and more complete analysis. In brief, moving off of Intel processors and on to ARM CPUs is not a huge deal, but it is a very smart move. What is fundamentally significant about the decision to switch to t

Caching Strategies for High Performance -- Introduction

Caching Strategies for High Performance In the fall of 2018 I had the opportunity for the first time to teach a seminar in Performance Engineering to graduate students at the University of Washington's Allen School for Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) in Seattle, near where I live. Conceptually, I built the class around the investigation of web application performance that I originally published on this blog beginning here . In structuring the content of the class, I was also fortunate in being able to take advantage of Andre Bondi's very readable textbook, Foundations of Software Performance Engineering . Dr. Bondi's excellent book is informed by his academic background in analytic queuing modeling, along with extensive professional experience with performance stress testing, both areas of expertise that complement my background and experience with its emphasis on instrumentation, measurement tools, and empirical studies of hardware and application performance. If