Interview with 2019 Person to Watch Steve Oberlin

This week, as part of our ongoing HPCwire People to Watch focus series, we are highlighting our interview with 2019 Person to Watch Steve Oberlin, chief technology officer for accelerated computing at Nvidia.

Steve’s large-scale computing technology career has spanned over 30 years, beginning in 1980 at Cray Research, where he worked on the CRAY-1 supercomputer systems. He later became the chief architect of the CRAY T3D MPP and the CRAY T3E and now holds 15 architecture and design patents related to those systems.

Steve founded Unlimited Scale, Inc. in 2000, where he spent 13 years creating new cloud computing infrastructure management and intelligent resource optimization tools. He returned to the HPC world when he joined Nvidia in 2013.

HPCwire: Steve, congratulations on being named to our People to Watch list. In November, you commemorated five years as CTO of the Tesla business unit at Nvidia, responsible for the company’s flagship architecture and roadmap. It’s been a pinnacle period of success, where Nvidia has seen its datacenter business swell. What were some of the key milestones for the Tesla unit in 2018?

Steve Oberlin: Thank you, it’s an honor!

No kidding about this being a pinnacle period for us. It’s so great to see so much work by so many talented people paying off in mind-blowing achievements. There are too many milestones to list, but I’ll give you my top three:

First, there’s Oak Ridge’s Summit and Lawrence Livermore’s Sierra GPU-accelerated supercomputers topping the Top500 list. That, combined with so many other powerful GPU-accelerated systems around the world at their back, and dominating the top of the Green500 list, is a powerful validation of the scalability of our accelerated computing platform.

DGX-2, with NVSwitch and our Volta Tensor Cores, is the second. Nobody has built iron like this — such a crazy amount of performance and memory bandwidth in a shared memory server — since the days of giant vector…

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