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JPMorgan Rolls Out (Another) FPGA Supercomputer

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-call-this-one-the-fleecer dept.

Supercomputing 210

An anonymous reader writes "JP Morgan is expanding its use of dataflow supercomputers to speed up more of its fixed income trading operations. Earlier this year, the bank revealed how it reduced the time it took to run an end-of-day risk calculation from eight hours down to just 238 seconds. The new dataflow supercomputer, where the computer chips are tailored to perform specific, bespoke tasks (as explained in this Wall Street Journal article) — will be equivalent to more than 12,000 conventional x86 cores, providing 128 Teraflops of performance."

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Best use for this computer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391276)

Getting FIRST POST on /.

All this.. (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391282)

So they can project how much money to borrow from the Federal Government the next time they have lent beyond sane limits to property speculators or invested in schemes even Mandelbrot wouldn't be able to simulate.

Re:All this.. (2, Funny)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391386)

Let's hope the federal government regulators are paying attention this time.

It would suck for them to be confused by the cool new computer and unable to seperate systemic or institutional risk from faster calculating devices.

Re:All this.. (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391504)

Let's hope the federal government regulators are paying attention this time.

It would suck for them to be confused by the cool new computer and unable to seperate systemic or institutional risk from faster calculating devices.

Wishful thinking. Wall Street moves at the Speed of Light with all these computer trades now. Federal regulators need a super computer to keep an eye on JPMorgan, et al.

"You were insolvent 23 times today, for a total of 3.77 seconds. Federal guidelines mandate not being insolvent more than 15 times per day, over 1.78 seconds."

Re:All this.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38393224)

Yes, now instead of failing to think beyond the next quarter, Wall Street can fail to think beyond the next millisecond.

Cue apologist explanations of how these leeches are creating value and liquidity by sitting in the middle of every transaction.

Re:All this.. (2, Insightful)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392290)

1. regulators are bought and paid for, besides they are not the brightest of the pack - if they were they would be farming gold on wallstreet themselves
2. regulations are always looking backwards at the last crisis, never predict origins of the next one
3. when everything is leveraged 30-50x there is nothing you can do to provide stability that is not make-believe
4. you don't need fancy regulation to crack down on good ol' fraud, you just make it harder for small players to comply

Re:All this.. (1, Informative)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392358)

3. when everything is leveraged 30-50x there is nothing you can do to provide stability that is not make-believe

Except of course, limit the amount of leverage allowed for any specific market or player, as they already do.

Whether the limits are being sanely applied or set at appropriate levels is another issue.

Re:All this.. (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391490)

Look at it the other way, by rapidly exploring lots of different risk profiles, they're trying to avoid getting into trouble in the first place.

Besides, the technology to rapidly reconfigure FPGAs for specific tasks could have a lot of applications. I guess the obvious question is whether the FPGA approach can win over mass-produced general purpose CPUs (the article says yes), and also over GPUs, which are increasingly general-purpose SIMD units.

Re:All this.. (2)

Omega Hacker (6676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391582)

they're trying to avoid getting into trouble in the first place.

No, they're looking to avoid getting into the kind of trouble they a) comprehend and b) actually care about. It's all the other kinds of trouble that are wreaking havoc with this country and planet right now.

Re:All this.. (5, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391782)

"A sound banker, alas, is not one who foresees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way with his fellows, so that no-one can really blame him."

--- John Maynard Keynes

Re:All this.. (2)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393310)

Read another way: It's not murder if they can't find a body.

Re:All this.. (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391584)

I'm all over reconfigurable computing as a technology. I didn't intend to imply the technology isn't cool, or even that JP morgan is evil. I've been personally advocating the performance enhancements and power improvements attainable via reconfigurable fabrics or hardware assisted acceleration for awhile now. Most people start lecturing me about bus contention when I mention it, which makes me cry. ;(

Re:All this.. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393214)

So, do you have an opinion on why Transmeta didn't pan out, or a reason to consider it irrelevant?

Re:All this.. (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393260)

I'm not really familiar with enough details of the Transmeta saga to really have an opinion on why they didn't take over the world.

The only thing that comes to mind, would be that they created an "x86 compatible" and that, when people were tasked with deciding what to standardize upon, Intel the real deal, or AMD the accepted competitor, Transmeta seemed like a bad choice. Anyone willing to deal with non-intel might have found ARM much more attractive. I dunno.

It's purely a guess on my part, and I'm sure I'll get blamed for being totally wrong. That said, I think I recall them selling off their technology, so it's not like their efforts were totally in vane. I would bet their ideas and IP have been absorbed by someone, somewhere, for something.

Re:All this.. (1, Flamebait)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392522)

Look at it the other way, by rapidly exploring lots of different risk profiles, they're trying to avoid getting into trouble in the first place.

Oh my goodness, how naive you are. To 'make' money, all the financial industry needs to do is to add extra zeros before the decimal point to their account balances. Problem is they can't do that so easily -- this is something they still can't get away with. So they have come up with all of these 'financial instruments' and 'trading systems' where they shuffle shit around between themselves and their accounts, producing no true value or real wealth, but somehow still end up with extra zeros before the decimal point in those accounts.

Yes Timmy, the financial industry is one huge friggin' gigantic Ponzi scheme.

Re:All this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38393000)

This is not a rapidly reconfigurable FPGA application. It is unrolling computation loops ideal for sequential processors into long compute pipelines implemented directly as hard logic. However from one calculation type to the next, the FPGAs are likely re-configured.

The algorithms are directly compiled into the FPGA fabric with the framework of the pipeline dataflow pre-defined. Schedulers also exist to coordinate the data flow to/from the pipelines and to manage data flow dependencies if the data needs to re-enter the pipeline.

The speed up occurs due to calculation latency overlap in the pipeline and parallelism with multiple simultaneous running pipelines. There is no overhead for data movement as there are in GPU's and CPU's. The data flows through the compute stages unhindered with data storage access occurring at speed during pipeline fills and pipeline empties.

Yes this technology showcases how FPGA's can compete with GPU's and multiple core CPU's. As an example, OpenCL is coming to one vendors' FPGAs and very soon at that. People who understand HPC and it's challenges understand how FPGA's offer them a more efficient solution that allows customizability. The tools to do this are in the early stages but the efforts to improve the ability to create HPC structures is in full earnest.

I work in FPGA's so that's how I know this. I can't really say much more . . .

Re:All this.. (2)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393072)

I would guess they have a stake in some FPGA manufacturing process and this is just a way of bringing attention to it to trick investors into handing over their money... and anyway, since the easiest way to make money on wall street is to take it from other people who already have it, I would imagine that their calculations really just show them where other people are exposed to risk so that they can bet the other way or something. Whatever they are doing, it isn't fair, it probably isn't even legal and eventually the government is going to have to give them 1 trillion dollars to save us all from some apocalyptic starvation scheme based on the devaluation of the Euro or some ludicrous arcana in the mathematics of finance.

Re:All this.. (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391586)

I think you mean "So American Slashdotters can ignore the geek appeal of the topic and continue bitching about how destructive their culture of competition is."

That's really what you meant to say, right? Right?

Re:All this.. (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392926)

So they can project how much money to borrow from the Federal Government the next time they have lent beyond sane limits to property speculators or invested in schemes even Mandelbrot wouldn't be able to simulate.

No, it's just fun building excessively expensive crap to justify your trading profits and look like you're "cutting edge." The only edge they are cutting is any shred of "all men are created equal" left in this country.

Paid for with Corzine's customers funds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391284)

Great! Maybe they can use their new supercomputer to find all the money that their UK branch helped steal in the MF Global collapse. Maybe they can even figure out the greatest mysteries of life, like whether there's any collateral at the bottom of the endless chain of rehypothecation that is the City.

238 seconds is about 4 minutes (5, Funny)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391306)

for all you people who don't really think in seconds when seconds is > 60.

Re:238 seconds is about 4 minutes (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391784)

for all you people who don't really think in seconds when seconds is > 60.

Put that sucker in the Crimson Assurance and it would go like the Space Shuttle!

right through the main feature and a dozen other screens in the cineplex as well!

Re:238 seconds is about 4 minutes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392506)

ahem - it's the crimson PERMANENT assurance to you buddy

lol

Re:238 seconds is about 4 minutes (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392232)

I write controls and test software. I think in multiples or fractions of 3600 seconds (one hour for the mathematically challenged).

My what a big computer you have! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391330)

All the better to fleece you with...

risk vs. electricity (1)

flying squirrels (2496274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391346)

How much money are they spending in manpower, electricity and consumables by calculating risk? how about make a super computer to figure out how to solve the world debt. then we can all have thirteen billion terflops of power to torrent pr0n with.

Re:risk vs. electricity (4, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391428)

using FPGA's instead of x86 would probably consume a significant amount less electricity. using manpower is good in terms of the many men being paid for their efforts instead or a few ceos just pocketing the money as extra bonuses

Re:risk vs. electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391700)

The electricity bill is no issue for these companies.
The sole purpose of adopting these technologies is to be able to evaluate assets realtime and to be able to make decisions or trade as fast as possible.

Re:risk vs. electricity (3, Interesting)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391848)

How much money are they spending in manpower, electricity and consumables by calculating risk? how about make a super computer to figure out how to solve the world debt.

Everyone knows the answer to that question already. Learn to live with less resources for each person, or figure out how to have less people.

Re:risk vs. electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38393272)

World debt? Debt is sort of a zero-sum game in this scenario. Unless the world is indebted to ET somewhere? Is the sun going to send a bill for all the rays it has been supplying us?

Just FPGAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391368)

So, what this is saying is that lots of money and FPGA's can outperform conventional microprocessors when given a specific task. This is not really news.

Re:Just FPGAs (2)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391418)

This is not really news.

Nope. OpenCL 1.2 was released recently. That's news.

But it's certainly popular to blame banks with computers for everything. It's been happening for as long as I can remember.

As a boy being forced to attend church, I remember sermons on the evil computer somewhere in a room, nicknamed "The Beast," calculating everything everyone did. Boy were those people wrong. Turns out the computer was named google. ;)

too bad (5, Insightful)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391370)

These banks aren't just siphoning money, they are also siphoning talent away from more important projects. The people working on these things could be brilliant physicists or engineers, if they weren't sucked into the dark side.

Re:too bad (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391492)

The people working on these things could be brilliant physicists or engineers

You think the people implementing fast calculations for financial firms, can't and aren't using the knowledge and source code for projects in other areas ?

Re:too bad (1)

SiMac (409541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391688)

You think the people implementing fast calculations for financial firms, can't and aren't using the knowledge and source code for projects in other areas ?

Correct. Do you think they are? That would almost certainly be in violation of their contracts...

Re:too bad (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391766)

Ah, so JP Morgan is labotamizing them upon termination. Now that is evil !

Re:too bad (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393020)

Ah, so JP Morgan is labotamizing them upon termination. Now that is evil !

I've seen some contracts to that effect (not work for any competing firm or use, in any way, technology developed at the company for a period of 10 years after termination)... they told me it was standard, I told them it was my standard policy to not sign idiotic crap like that, they hired me anyway.

Re:too bad (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393172)

The article already pointed out, the hardware developer is a sub-contractor, and they also have customers in the oil industry. The rant I was responding to concerning "brain drain" I've seen on wired.com in FUD articles before.

I mean, the microprocessor itself started out as military technology, and it made its way into damn near every aspect of life. It's crazy to think wall street is sucking up all the science brainpower.

Re:too bad (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393228)

You think people that work on this stuff have anything in mind beyond personal enrichment?

Believe me, I know a guy that does some of this stuff. His opinions are that corporate morals are unnecessary, that we can't and shouldn't seek to blame or look negatively on companies for seeking profit without regard to the social, environmental or other costs, and that open source is basically hippie communism.

We used to argue about that sort of stuff quite a lot until I stopped speaking to him.

Re:too bad (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391534)

These banks aren't just siphoning money, they are also siphoning talent away from more important projects. The people working on these things could be brilliant physicists or engineers, if they weren't sucked into the dark side.

It's not even dollars and cents. Hasn't been for years. It's points. It's all virtual and simply points. Just like whacking a goblin in some game, they're keeping score, not minding money.

Re:too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391550)

In this day and age, it's either smart talent sucked into financial dark side or web-happy / mobile-app happy "yay yet another laundry app / angry bird / stupid web site"

Re:too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391856)

It's an interesting computing system and software project with a good financial backing. What's not to like? It's almost as if the spending of the military-industrial complex wouldn't be for the betterment of man kind (rolls eyes). ;)

Re:too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391938)

These game companies aren't just siphoning money, they are also siphoning talent away from more important projects. The people working on these things could be brilliant physicists or engineers, if they weren't sucked into the dark side.

Re:too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392108)

Finance is a simple game with simple human rules. Nature is far more complex.

The greatest thing a casino sells is myth, and one of its better myths is that "bankers" have some special talent. In reality the quant is a drop-out who lacks the imagination, tenacity and integrity to produce original scholarship.

Re:too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392712)

I find that interesting, as the few quants I know very well became bored with the lie which is American academia and decided to do something better with their lives then to fight bitterly over the small amount of money in their fields of fundamental physics research and now are happy, successful people contributing to the growth of mathematics and computing instead of lecturing other people who want to live the myth of a physicist. I instead became a pilot; I was smart enough not to get a PhD in physics.

Re:too bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392300)

I know plenty on unemployed science/engineering graduates, myself included.

Having a real job solving interesting problems, even if it's not at NASA, would be such a blessing.

It's not like people just magically find employment. And it takes a lot of capitol to do projects on the forefront of science; very few people can go it alone.

Re:too bad (1)

tukang (1209392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392308)

If these algorithms are profitable they ultimately buy low and sell high, which is good for society. When you buy low, you're providing cash to those who need it most (therefore the willingness to sell low) and when you sell high, you provide the asset when it's needed most. Essentially, a profitable trader (computer or not) helps moderate markets by preventing them from going too low or too high, and pricing things correctly is important to society because resources are allocated by price. I know it's trendy to bash finance but it has an important function in society.

Re:too bad (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392984)

These banks aren't just siphoning money, they are also siphoning talent away from more important projects. The people working on these things could be brilliant physicists or engineers, if they weren't sucked into the dark side.

But, the dark side is filled with shiny baubles - why take a conventional job for $85K when you can start with a financial firm at $135K? That's a Porsche in the garage on day one, upgraded to a Ferrari after the 2 year lease is up. With conspicuous consumption like that, the vacuous model types start paying attention to you - what 20-something genius doesn't want that?

So... what? (1)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391402)

You can get petaflops with a fraction of 12,000's x86 price, just use GPUs...

Re:So... what? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391682)

You can get petaflops with a fraction of 12,000's x86 price, just use GPUs...

Mrs. Schwartz, we've .. eh heh .. there's been some problems with the computers lately .. eh heh .. but rest assured, Mrs. Schwartz, we will have it all sorted out very soon and not a penny will be out of place .. eh heh .. just as soon as we figure how your checking account came to have a balance of $7,404.06 and .. eh heh .. oh my .. and 12 Klingons. What a dreadful day this has been. Oh, and in case you were considering transfering to another institution .. eh heh .. Bank of America's journals are infested with Romulans and Chase are having a devil of a time with Ferengi. Oh, I do so much need some aspirin. Oh my."

Re:So... what? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393040)

What they are after is minimal lag in computation - at some point, the FPGAs will win this over standard CPUs or GPUs, all you need is cubic dollars to fund them, and, if you haven't noticed, cubic dollars is their business.

Debug? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391438)

Debugging a program on clusters is bad enough, but how do you debug your FPGA program?

I guess you can run it 120 more times in 8 hours but can you printf?

More Speeds Please (1, Informative)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391478)

equivalent to more than 12,000 conventional x86 cores, providing 128 Teraflops of performance.

128 Tflops / 5 Tflops = 25.6 AMD dual gpu video cards.

25.6 x $700+/- = $17,920

I wonder what they paid for it.

Re:More Speeds Please (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391676)

GPU ALU have a limited set of operations. Their calculation probably uses operations outside of that set.

Re:More Speeds Please (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391946)

GPU ALU have a limited set of operations. Their calculation probably uses operations outside of that set.

That's OK, because with the volume of dollars now on the move it's no longer GAAP, but quantum.

Re:More Speeds Please (1)

Haven (34895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391696)

ALU * clock is meaningless measure. Hardware scales easily, code does not.

Re:More Speeds Please (2)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392330)

ALU * clock is meaningless measure.

Nowhere did I mention clock speeds. I mentioned TFlops. Any TFlop numbers from the manufacturers, are most likely, best case theoretical hardware performance numbers, based on ALU * clock.

As for whether they are meaningful or meaningless, that depends on your point of view.

If you are a kid playing video games that only cares about frame rates, then perhaps it is meaningless to you.

If you are a developer looking at hardware, who can't yet benchmark the actual application, then it is as meaningful a measure as can be estimated.

I don't know any competent developer or systems integrator who thinks they will get 100% of the manufacturers advertised performance out of anything once they execute their own software. Please feel free to downgrade the manufacturers stated performance to suit your personal situation.

Re:More Speeds Please (1)

bas_vijfwinkel (2532776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392224)

>>I wonder what they paid for it.
That is just like saying 'A Ferrari 360 consists 1100Kg of metal so I wonder what they paid for that 1000Kg of metal'.
FPGAs and GPUs can't be compared in that way.
FPGAs are slower in flops performance but that can do everything in a massive parallel setup if that is needed for the data processing. If a certain processing step can be done with 2000 independent multiplications then you can just create such logic in FPGAs and perform that step in just a few clock cycles while the GPU must revert back to ordinary loops because no GPU has that many ALU's.
And don't have too much admiration of financial companies and their contractors.
They are generally not into this stuff. A lot of senior developers have tons of certificates but can't handle new technologies because they are so caught up in their fixed paradigms. One of the so-called senior architect engineers at a financial software company told that they turned of a brand new GPU cluster because no-one could get it to work.... Well, I guess that was because there was no Java/Microsoft certificate for GPU supercomputing yet...

Re:More Speeds Please (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392286)

I work with this stuff on a daily basis.

Re:More Speeds Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392540)

lol

Re:More Speeds Please (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393106)

Hmmm. My bitcoin cluster has 19 gpu's so far. I am 2/5's of the way there!

Re:More Speeds Please (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393184)

Schweet.

FPGAs as coprocessors? (4, Interesting)

Targen (844972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391538)

This story got me thinking that many of the tasks routinely executed on personal computers (perhaps cryptography, video decoding, and such) may benefit from including a FPGA in PCs to serve as a programmable coprocessor. Much like graphics-intensive software can come with shader code to offload processing to the GPU, couldn't a video codec or an implementation of SSL or whatever come with code that would allow an FPGA to do part of the work?

I googled around and found that at least CERN has done something of the sort [cdsweb.cern.ch] , but that was over seven years ago. There was a story on Slashdot [slashdot.org] about something of this sort, but it's even older than the CERN publication. Is anyone working on this sort of idea? If not, why? Is it simply a matter of cost, or is there some other issue that makes this impractical?

Maybe I just suck at googling...

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391662)

I think you probably do [suck at Googling]. I'm almost certain there was a story about this exact thing within the past year or two. At the very least, the Google search "FPGA co-processing" returns a lot more results than "FPGA co-processor".

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (3, Interesting)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391686)

There are 2 companies that I am aware of, who's name temporarily escapes me ( perhaps I'll search and find them ) who are using FPGAs with hardwired hypertransport interfaces that plug directly into an Opteron mobo socket. Some of Crays recent models use the same approach.

This gives the co-processor direct access to the entire system bus, memory, and the Opteron CPU installed in the primary socket.

Last I read they were about $5k each. Perhaps the price has come down since.

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (0)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391742)

I think that the problem with FPGAs is how many times can they be reprogrammed. For this (banking) application probably not that many, but if you have to re-program your in-PC FPGA every time you decide to check your encrypted e-mail while watching streaming video, you will run out of programming cycles pretty quickly.

Besides, if task is well-defined (as in, has a standard, like MPEG, or SSL), if it probably more cost-effective to have a special chip doing it (you can definitely get cheap stand-alone chips for tasks like this), and just add it in the corner of motherboard.

Paul B.

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392124)

Actually, almost all FPGAs are SRAM-based and reconfigure (program) themselves every time they power on. The biggest problem is the compiler tools themselves (the Xilinx tools are pretty horrid all things considered).

Will be interesting to see how long it takes them to move to GPUs. They aren't as flexible but the raw amount of computing power is much cheaper. Then again, we're talking about banks, heh

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (3, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391916)

It's been envisioned, implemented, and commerialized a long time ago. You can buy a duel socket AMD board, and put in an AMD CPU in one socket and a FPGA co-processor in the other socket. That was 5 years ago. [wikipedia.org]

Quite a few supercomputers on top500 have the above mentioned configuration. JPMorgan is very late to the party.

You're probably wondering why every desktop, laptop, and smartphone doesn't come with this wonderful technology already, and there are many many reasons for that:
- FPGA programming is difficult, and it's a much rarer talent than software programming
- The FPGA industry is currently a duopoly and combined that with the small market of FPGAs means that the price is too high for consumer electronics
- Specialized functionality can always be more cheaply implemented in ASICs (cryptographic co-processors, new instructions in CPUs, H264 decoding ASICs)
- The chicken and egg problem. Developers won't start hiring FPGA programmers en masse until there are enough machines out there with FPGA co-processors installed. And people won't start buying FPGA co-processors until their favorite program supported co-processor acceleration.

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392052)

> Quite a few supercomputers on top500 have the above mentioned configuration. JPMorgan is very late to the party.

Can you name one?

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392238)

My bad. I must've confused FPGA with GPGPU. My apologies.

JPMorgan is indeed one of the first places to mass deploy clusters with FPGA co-processors. The technology isn't new per se, but they are still pioneers in terms of scale.

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392302)

> You can buy a duel socket AMD board,...

I've been buying motherboards for more than twenty years to build systems, and I've never seen a model with sockets designed to fight each other. Can you provide a link to one? A search on Newegg for "duel socket" returns zero results.

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (1)

bas_vijfwinkel (2532776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391948)

They already exist but they are pretty expensive. A single Intel's XD2000 inSocket FPGA accelerator costs more than a really high end user workstation. I worked with one of such devices for a while and it is amazing what you can do (besides bitcoin mining *laugh*). As long as what you want to calculate or process can be done in parallel, the speed ups are phenomenal. With devices like the XD2000, the limit was the size of the FPGA but with the next generation FPGA's from Xilinx or Altera, we will definitely see a big leap forward in certain areas. When you can let go of the old paradigms then the sky is the limit. More interesting however are hybrid devices like the new Zynq which is basically a (dualcore) CPU plus FPGA. In this case you never have to leave the silicon to use customizable logic. Some mainframes back 30 years ago already had reprogrammable CPU's where custom logic could be added but not to the extend of these device.

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392342)

In electronics a large part of the cost is upfront so niche products are FAR more expensive than common products of similar complexity. This applies to some extent to assemblies (compare the cost of a PXIe controller module to the cost of a laptop for example) and applies to an even greater extent to semiconductor products.

Powerful FPGAs are a niche product and hence expensive. GPUs are a mass market product and hence cheap. So if a GPU can do your calculations reasonablly efficiently it's probablly the cheaper option.

FPGAs aren't power efficient nor cost-efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392968)

They are generally greatly overrated. For most tasks a CPU would beat them, a GPU too.

We use them at work, for $200,000 in FPGAs we can do what a $10 integrated circuit chip can do, only at 1/400th the speed and about 100x the power.

Their only virtual is maximum reprogrammability and they just aren't good enough at that to make sense for many things. Look at CPUs, GPUs and DSPs instead. These can utilize logic blocks in different configurations/sequences far better than FPGAs.

Re:FPGAs as coprocessors? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393052)

We use FPGAs to do custom video pipelines alongside our processor cores, we don't, as a general rule, reconfigure them very often, because that takes lots and lots of testing to make sure you haven't screwed up, but the flexibility does allow us to move forward without fully specifying the hardware at an early stage.

Kudos to the JPMC engineers! (4, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391556)

I spent two great years working for J. P. Morgan Chase, starting in 1999, followed by a year with the merged JPMC, so I have some knowledge of how this new system will be used and how it fits into the business process of running a bank. I can't discuss details about that, but I just wanted to share my congratulations with the JPMC team for tackling that thorny issue.

You have to understand that investments can't be made until those risk analyses are done, so cutting 7-8 hours off the run time will earn the company millions over the course of a year. We're talking about the kind of investment loans where even a 4-5 hour overnight "float" of capital to help someone seal a bigger deal can be worth a significant amount of interest and profit.

Remember: the big investment banks are dealing with numbers that cause spreadsheets to overflow. You can't even visualize the data with standard desktop tools. You wouldn't believe the totals I saw come out of some reports, and I wish I could forget them. Such numbers are not meant for the grasp of mere humans living on a working wage.

Re:Kudos to the JPMC engineers! (0)

Turbine2k5 (2531842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391652)

You wouldn't believe the totals I saw come out of some reports, and I wish I could forget them. Such numbers are not meant for the grasp of mere humans living on a working wage.

...so what you're saying is that the numbers you saw are the CEO's salary?

Re:Kudos to the JPMC engineers! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391744)

I spent two great years working for J. P. Morgan Chase, starting in 1999, followed by a year with the merged JPMC, so I have some knowledge of how this new system will be used and how it fits into the business process of running a bank. I can't discuss details about that, but I just wanted to share my congratulations with the JPMC team for tackling that thorny issue.

You have to understand that investments can't be made until those risk analyses are done, so cutting 7-8 hours off the run time will earn the company millions over the course of a year. We're talking about the kind of investment loans where even a 4-5 hour overnight "float" of capital to help someone seal a bigger deal can be worth a significant amount of interest and profit.

Remember: the big investment banks are dealing with numbers that cause spreadsheets to overflow. You can't even visualize the data with standard desktop tools. You wouldn't believe the totals I saw come out of some reports, and I wish I could forget them. Such numbers are not meant for the grasp of mere humans living on a working wage.

And just think, replying to that programming school on the matchbook cover and adding a little clause of code to catch the fractions beyond cents could have you living on Long Island in a pleasant estate in about half a second of activity. -- Superman movie reference.

Re:Kudos to the JPMC engineers! (4, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392018)

Remember: the big investment banks are dealing with numbers that cause spreadsheets to overflow.

Wow! They're using more than 65536 rows? Impressive!

Re:Kudos to the JPMC engineers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392208)

Such numbers are not meant for the grasp of mere humans living on a working wage.

Can humans living on a non-working (1%?) wage grasp these numbers; or will we be back to 2008 again?

Re:Kudos to the JPMC engineers! (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392384)

the big investment banks are dealing with numbers that cause spreadsheets to overflow

so last century. Excel 2007 and 2010 have no such limitations. which is a good thing because I sometimes generate datasets too big for the older versions to handle.

1999, before the first Synthetic CDO was sold? (1, Redundant)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392982)

before credit default swaps grew to dozens-of-trillions of dollars business?

before Commodity Index Funds?

before the stock exchanges and commodities exchanges got rid of their open outcry trading pits and went electronic?

before JP Morgan bought Bear Stearns (with a Fed loan)?

before JP Morgan got bailed out by taxpayers?

no offense dude... but what on earth does 1999 have to do with 2011?

So JP Morgan can calculate VaR faster. so what? they didnt calculate it fast enough in 2008 - they took that big fat payout like everyone else, they were up to the arms in CDOs and subprime like everyone else, they had their fingers in every pie. They arent "earning" anything, they are "stealing" it from the taxpayer, with an enforced monopoly based on corruption in the federal government. JP Morgan should not exist.

I do not buy your thing about spreadsheets, considering how CDOs were often calculated by people called 'F9 monkeys'. and one CDO deal could be worth a billion dollars.

PDF on JP Morgan's Website about this stuff (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391594)

Talks about this stuff and some low latency stuff too...

http://techcareers.jpmorgan.com/downloads/Field%20Programme%20Gate%20Array%20factsheet.pdf

Re:PDF on JP Morgan's Website about this stuff (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393246)

Migrating algorithms from C++ to FPGAs involves doing a Fourier Transform from time domain
execution to spatial domain execution in order to maximize computational throughput.

What the hell is this supposed to mean? The document seems like the standard FPGA boilerplate otherwise, great for showing to management.

Let the looting begin! (2)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 2 years ago | (#38391708)

Now JP Morgan can raid future MF Globals all that much faster, while hiding their shenanigans at the COMEX.

Accelerated Economic Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391792)

Is it just me or do others see things like this as dangerous just from an evolutionary perspective? If I recall, a species that accelerated it's evolution is doomed to burn itself out.

If the bankers had a clue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38391794)

this would be scary(er)

Re:If the bankers had a clue... (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38393108)

If bankers had a clue they would use these supercomputers to generate bitcoins!

Be First (1)

Erastus (520136) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392060)

In the movie, Margin Call (2011), the investment bank that saw the danger of their risk exposure first was prompted to sell and start a massive panic that sunk a competitor. The movie is loosely based on the Lehman crisis. "John Tuld: There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat. "

Re:Be First (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392196)

Thanks for the IMDB summary.

I know fpga programming (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392508)

Sounds like I should get a job in the financial industry. /subscribes to "Giant Boats"

They need "FLASH GORDON" Technology... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392510)

For I/O intensive work & as far as "super-computing" goes, it has tremendous IOPS possibles...

* RamDisks/RamDrives, RULE!

They absolutely rule where I-O's to files matter, & especially for that area (& that system below's got a lot of that going for it - databases, websites, terminal servers, & FAR more gain hugely using them (what's below's just another example thereof))...

APK

P.S.=> Think I'm kidding? These folks @ the San Diego SuperComputing Center aren't, quoted from this below, verbatim:

"SDSC thinks the 36 million IOPS number makes it the fastest supercomputer in the world in terms of I/O operations." FROM -> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/15/sdsc_gordon/ [theregister.co.uk]

... apk

Hi gang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392596)

The malcontent WoW players haunting Slashdot haven't the first clue what this story is about.

Wow, they spent all that money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392626)

...and they could've just built a beowulf cluster.

Scary (1)

Metricmouse (2532810) | more than 2 years ago | (#38392908)

That's 38 more teraflops than Skynet, and I thought I was afraid of big banks before...

Meanwhile America is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38392952)

Fuck JP Morgan. Rape and kill their families.

FpQ co3k (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38393034)

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