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Monday, December 4, 2023

SambaNova Provides HBM for LLM Inference Chip

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PALO ALTO, Calif.—SambaNova is bringing out new silicon particularly for big language mannequin (LLM) fine-tuning and inference at scale. In contrast with the earlier technology of SambaNova silicon, introduced one yr in the past, the SN40L provides extra compute cores and options high-bandwidth reminiscence (HBM) for the primary time. It has moved to a extra superior course of node than the previous-gen silicon.

SambaNova mentioned it could serve 5-trillion–parameter fashions with 256k+ sequence size from a single, eight-socket system. The 5-trillion–parameter mannequin in query is a large combination of specialists (MoE) mannequin utilizing Llama-2 as a router. The identical mannequin would require 24x 8-socket state-of-the-art GPU programs however SambaNova can scale linearly to massive fashions at excessive token-per-second charges so far as 5 trillion parameters, SambaNova’s  Marshall Choy informed EE Occasions.

SambaNova SN40L
SambaNova’s SN40L makes use of HBM for the primary time. (Supply: EE Occasions)

“We all the time held a robust perception that reminiscence was going to be the important thing,” he mentioned. “The market performed into it with generative AI and enormous language fashions. As we push parameter counts greater and better, the large choke level is reminiscence.”

SambaNova’s dataflow-execution idea has all the time included massive, on-chip SRAM whose low latency and excessive bandwidth negated the necessity for HBM, particularly within the coaching situation. This allowed the corporate to masks the decrease bandwidth of the DDR controllers however nonetheless make use of DRAM’s massive capability.

The SN40L makes use of a mix of 64 GB HBM3, 1.5 TB of DDR5 DRAM and 520 MB SRAM per bundle (throughout each compute chiplets).

“With generative AI, particularly issues like query and answering, you need to have the ability to execute plenty of small kernels actually shortly,” Choy mentioned. “HBM occurs to be actually helpful for that kind of inference workload, so now we’ve launched that intermediate layer into our reminiscence structure and executed the following software program growth work to allow us to optimally make the most of these tiers of reminiscence, both for low latency, excessive bandwidth, or excessive capability.”

Whereas the earlier two generations of SambaNova silicon had been on 7 nm, SN40L is on TSMC 5 nm. The variety of compute cores has additionally elevated to 140, with no different main architectural adjustments.

Workloads are transferring from coaching to nice tuning and inference, and SambaNova is evolving its silicon to satisfy these necessities from the market, Choy mentioned, including that enterprises’ need to undertake generative AI shortly is accelerating SambaNova’s alternative. He famous {that a} current, multi-million-dollar enterprise contract with a monetary providers agency – from first assembly to contract signature – took simply 40 days.

“Final yr was loads of, ‘Let’s scramble and reprogram present funds away from different stuff to get began with AI,’ however I believe this yr and within the subsequent calendar yr it’s actually about appropriating budgets from the beginning for bigger tasks,” he mentioned. “Now it’s actually going to get fascinating!”

Typical prospects are shopping for (or renting) racks and rows of SambaNova DataScale programs, with only a few single-node programs offered, Choy mentioned, with enterprise prospects welcoming open-source pre-trained basis fashions to which they’ll add worth by way of fine-tuning with their very own knowledge.

Third-generation silicon comes nearly a yr to the day since SambaNova launched its second technology, the SN30.

EE Times at SambaNova
EE Occasions meets SambaNova’s Marshall Choy (proper) (Supply: EE Occasions)

“We’ve all the time obtained concurrent chip tasks,” Choy mentioned. “At any given time, there are three to 5 concurrent tasks which might be funded and being labored on.”

“Semiconductor growth is just not for the faint of coronary heart, neither is it for the skinny of pockets,” Choy mentioned, laughing–and noting that a part of what makes this attainable is the large funding rounds SambaNova held lately.

“For this reason we went with the reconfigurable dataflow structure,” he mentioned. “An ASIC would have been a lot simpler…. Constructing chips and compilers for the reconfigurable-dataflow structure is just not for the faint of coronary heart both, however you’ve obtained to have that reconfigurability since you’ve obtained to have the silicon in your fingers in the present day that may hold tempo with the speed of [AI workload] growth.”

SambaNova can be announceing new merchandise in its mannequin catalog, together with Llama-2 7B and 70B and Bloom-176B.

The SN40L will turn out to be out there initially as a part of the corporate’s cloud-based providing, SambaNova Suite, and later as a part of the corporate’s DataScale providing for on-premises knowledge facilities, for which preliminary delivery is deliberate in November.

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