Light of 2023: Fourth and Fifth Generation Strongest
338 days after the release of the fourth generation Xeon processor earlier this year, Intel has made another big hit-the fifth generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processor, code-named "Emerald Rapids," has come to the fore. The processor has multi-dimensional improvements in performance, energy efficiency, cache, etc., making it the perfect ending to Intel's implementation process in the data center field in 2023.
Fast forward two processors in one year with excellent iteration performance, which is a remarkable move without Intel's in-house precise product planning, orderly workflow, and strong team collaboration. Double-digit increases in performance and efficiency require not only leading-edge technology, but also a deep understanding of processors. Irma Esmer Papazian, senior principal engineer of data center processor architecture, has a lot to say about this.
At Irma University, computer engineering was one of the hottest majors in the school. With curiosity about the unknown, Irma made her own choice at this major turning point in her life and started her decade-long computer engineering career, including 30 years in Intel's Data Center Division.
Irma was recruited to Intel in 1992 after graduating with a master's degree."I grew up very quickly at Intel," she said."It was a dream job. "As the youngest and only woman on the team, she was constantly learning from more senior colleagues. She worked on the Itanium processor development team for nearly 10 years before moving to Xeon in 2005. It can be said that in the next 18 years, she experienced the whole process of strong development. This is crucial to the birth of the fifth generation, because it is precisely the product that needs a team of new, old faces and ideas to build.
As early as the promotion of the fourth generation, the research and development of the fifth generation has been carried out in an orderly manner. Irma was involved in the streaming of Generation 5 Xeon at the end of Generation 4 Xeon development. At that time, most of the team members transferred to the development team of Granite Rapids, which will be launched in 2024, after the launch of Xeon 4, while Irma joined the product development team twice in a year, bringing her valuable experience in the development of Xeon 4 to the new team.
"Meeting customer needs is our goal"
The fifth-generation Xeon product plan is simple: customers want higher performance, but at the same time do not want to increase costs due to high power consumption.
The change in chip topology makes everything possible-the fourth generation Xeon has up to four cores, while the fifth generation Xeon has two larger dies with higher density that can accommodate more cores. Irma said that these larger clusters have higher L3 cache capacity, 4 memory channels and 32 functional cores, which are better suited for large virtual machines. They also offer lower latency and power consumption.
After the chip structure was determined, Irma and the team began to study how to further improve the performance and energy efficiency of the product. "Let's see how we can optimize without changing the chip itself. "
To that end, the team internally created a table with about a dozen feature optimizations to meet customer needs. These include improvements to existing energy efficiency features, such as optimizing CPU core detection on the basis of the previous generation and adjusting the threshold for exiting Idle Mode (in which the CPU is in a low power state), so that the processor can switch modes more reasonably to meet work requirements; In addition, the fifth generation Xeon adds a new feature of "Five Levels of Turbo Frequency" to allow AVX512 heavy workloads to have higher frequencies.
While introducing new features and optimizing product performance, they also analyzed the shortcomings of the fourth generation Xeon. In addition, to help new members get started as quickly as possible, the team has developed product debugging templates and analysis guides, and to maintain consistency, regular team meetings are held to keep pace with progress.
Irma said: "We train the whole team through an orderly workflow and method to drive continuous development and progress. "They built work forms to help update data and workflow in real time within the team. At the same time, the team focused on simplifying the process as much as possible, which Irma said was the hardest part of the process.
"As technical experts, we want to focus on technical problems and solutions and want to spend as little time as possible on project management and processes. However, in order to successfully complete the product iteration at the perfect time and even exceed the target, we must redouble our efforts to improve the entire workflow. "
"We summarize any problems we encounter with a focused report. Include: What is the problem? What is the root cause? How should it be resolved? How can we avoid the same problems with the next generation of products? Having experienced all this myself, I am truly proud of the entire fifth-generation Xeon R & D team. The validation, architecture, design and manufacturing teams worked together to achieve 'optimal' product performance within the predetermined time frame. "
the power of teamwork
When engaged in daily tasks, people are always busy, prone to obsessing over details, and prone to being too focused on the task at hand.
"There are times when you work so hard that you lose sight of the big picture," Irma said. I always try to emphasize the big picture, the relationship between what one is doing and the ultimate goal, so setting long-term goals is useful. And I always remind you that no one is alone, we are a team, and we should be good at using collective wisdom. When you encounter a problem, don't bury your head in it. First, see if the problem has been solved by your colleagues. In this case, just improve it. She adds that it's important that everyone on the team contributes, and it's also important that they feel valued within the team.
"If a person does a job and puts in effort, they deserve positive feedback and know their effort is seen and recognized. When we work as a team, we emphasize this very much. Irma believes that encouraging members to seek help, recognizing their hard work and fostering a culture of respect for individuals is the solution to future problems.
Engineers are the humerus force that constantly invents and creates and promotes the development of technology. In the process of technology development, the problem encountered by engineers is never the "last one." Therefore, it is extremely important to learn to stand on the shoulders of giants, especially in the R & D environment of cutting-edge technology.
With the successful launch of the fifth-generation Xeon processor, Irma turned its attention to high-profile artificial intelligence. "Right now, I'm working on AI as well as the performance scaling of large language models on CPUs. "
"Look, there are always new challenges and problems that we need to solve. "
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