Mark III Systems Blog

OpenPOWER Summit 2019

On August 19 and 20, I attended the OpenPOWER Summit in San Diego, CA.  This was my first time to attend the conference, so I was a little unsure of what to expect.  My main purpose in attending was to host a speaking session with Linton Ward, Distinguished Engineer for IBM, and Chris Sullivan, Assistant Director of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing at Oregon State University, where we spoke about a group we formed earlier this year in conjunction with Charlie Foretich from Tech Data, called the “OpenPOWER Solution Builder Community” (OSBC).

The OSBC is a group of researchers, university faculty, members of industry, value added resellers, systems integrators, and business partners who use and/or sell IBM Power Systems, particularly the IBM POWER9 AC922.  Our overarching goals are to foster collaboration, share experiences, and give feedback.  As one of the speakers at the conference said, “All of us is better than one of us.”

Currently, there is not much out there about what people are doing with Power Systems, how they are doing it, what challenges they face, or how they have overcome those challenges.  We plan to change that.  In the presentation, Linton provided an overview of the OSBC, Chris talked about it from the hardware perspective, and I discussed the AI side of things, particularly using IBM Watson Machine Learning Community Edition and PowerAI Vision.

The presentation was well-received, and many attendees of the conference were excited about the OSBC.  This is something that is needed and will provide a significant benefit to the community.  To learn more about the community you can visit the OSBC website.  You do not have to be a member of the Open Power Foundation to read the forum, but you do have to be a member to post. To view my presentation at OpenPOWER Summit,  click here!

Chris Sullivan has put together demos that compare the performance of the IBM POWER9 AC922 versus several different Intel-based servers.  It is remarkable and worth a 10-minute look.  Chris has also put together a couple of rich GitHub repository with scripts and tools specific to the AC922.

At the conference, a major announcement was made.  IBM is moving the OpenPOWER Foundation to The Linux Foundation and open sourcing the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). Tech Crunch is just one of the many outlets that gives more details of the announcement found here.  I think this will have a positive impact overall because it will allow chip manufacturers, such as FPGA manufacturer, Xilink, to innovate at a faster speed and create products that have a larger impact.

Finally, I was interviewed for a podcast about the OSBC with Linton and Chris by Luke Schatz from IBM.  It was a great experience and will post the podcast once it is published.  You can also check out my Twitter feed (@pacejohn) to see other highlights from the conference.