Deep Learning System Is Bound For Battle

General Micro Systems (GMS) unveils what it describes as the industry’s first rugged, conduction-cooled, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) deep learning/artificial intelligence (AI) mobile system that offers real-time data analysis and decision making directly on the battlefield. The X422 “Lighting” integrates two of Nvidia’s V100 Tesla data center accelerators into a fully sealed, conduction-cooled chassis, enabling it to withstand the harsh rigors of the battlefield. Designed as a dual co-processor companion to GMS Intel Xeon rugged air-cooled or conduction-cooled servers, X422 brings the computational power of Nvidia’s best Tensor Core general-purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) to the battlefield’s tactical edge or right into a ground or air vehicle to speed data analysis and interpretation from hours to minutes.


Traditionally, sensors on military vehicles collect massive amounts of battlefield data and store it locally before transporting it for analysis and interpretation by highly sophisticated, remote deep learning systems. Transporting this raw data saturates networks and satellite communication uplinks, slowing them to a crawl and preventing access from other users. To work around the network, removable hard drives are often transported from the front lines, leaving the data subject to theft or loss during transport and introducing additional lag time.


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Compact Power


The X422, measuring approximately 12 in. x12 in. square and under 3 in. high, includes dual x16 PCIe Gen 3 slots for the GMS-ruggedized PCIe deep learning cards including Nvidia’s V100 Tesla (computation only)—what Nvidia calls the “most advanced data center GPU ever built,”—or Nvidia’s Titan V (computation with graphics outputs). Each card boasts 5120 CUDA processing cores, giving X422 over 10,200 GPGPU cores and more than 225 TFLOPS for deep learning. In addition to using Nvidia GPGPU co-processors, the X422 can accommodate other co-processors, different deep learning cards, and high-performance computers (HPC) based upon FPGAs from Xilinx or Altera, or ASICs up to a total of 250W per slot (500W total).


Way Cool


Notably, the X422 includes no fans or moving parts, promising wide temperature operation and massive data movement via an external PCI Express fabric in ground vehicles, tactical command posts, UAV/UAS, or other remote locations—right at the warfighter’s “tip of the spear.” GMS relies on the company’s patented RuggedCool thermal technology to adapt the GPGPUs for harsh battlefield conditions, extending their temperature operation while increasing environmental MTBF.


Getting Technical


Another industry first brings I/O to X422 via GMS’s FlexVPX bus extension fabric.  X422 interfaces with servers and modules from GMS and from One Stop Systems, using industry-standard iPass+ HD connectors offering x16 lanes in and x16 lanes out of PCI Express Gen 3

(8 GT/s) fabric for a total of 256 GT/s (about 32 GB/s) system throughput. X422 deep learning co-processor systems can be daisy-chained up to a theoretical limit of 16 chassis working together.


Unique to X422 are the pair of X422’s two PCIe deep learning cards that can operate independently or work together as a high-performance computer (HPC) using the user-programmable onboard, non-blocking low-latency PCIe switch fabric. For PCIe cards with outputs—such as the Titan V’s DisplayPorts—these are routed to separate A and B front panel connectors.


Hungry for more details and specs? Chow down on the X422 datasheet.