WTB: Tensor Processing Unit

Searching for hard-to-find gear? A post in here might just shake something loose!
Forum rules
Any posts concerning pirated software or offering to buy/sell/trade commercial software are subject to removal.
User avatar
Kumba
Posts: 235
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 12:14 am
Location: Byzantine Secundus

WTB: Tensor Processing Unit

Unread postby Kumba » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:41 am

Has anyone ever come across a Tensor Processing Unit before? They seem to be rather rare. It's hard to even find pictures of the things. The only one I ever found was on some slide set I located on DocStoc, and it's not real high quality (see attached). I'll never have a use for a TPU, but it'd be fun just to have one for the collection.
Attachments
TPU.png
Last edited by Kumba on Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
:Onyx2: 4x R14000 :Tezro: 4x R16000 :Fuel: 1x R16000 :Octane: 2x R14000 :O2+: RM7000 :O2: R10000 :O2: RM5200 :Indigo: R4400 :Indigo2IMP: R10000 :Indigo2: R8000 :O3x0: 4x R14000 :Indy: R5000

"The past tempts us, the present confuses us, the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between."
--Emperor Turhan, Centauri Republic

User avatar
Kumba
Posts: 235
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 12:14 am
Location: Byzantine Secundus

Re: WTB: Tensor Processing Unit

Unread postby Kumba » Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:03 pm

Necromancing this thread, as I am still interested in tracking one of these XIO boards down.
:Onyx2: 4x R14000 :Tezro: 4x R16000 :Fuel: 1x R16000 :Octane: 2x R14000 :O2+: RM7000 :O2: R10000 :O2: RM5200 :Indigo: R4400 :Indigo2IMP: R10000 :Indigo2: R8000 :O3x0: 4x R14000 :Indy: R5000

"The past tempts us, the present confuses us, the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between."
--Emperor Turhan, Centauri Republic

robespierre
Posts: 1573
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:28 pm
Location: Boston

Re: WTB: Tensor Processing Unit

Unread postby robespierre » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:10 pm

I wonder if they actually spun chips for this, or just used huge FPGAs?
:PI: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP:

User avatar
Kumba
Posts: 235
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 12:14 am
Location: Byzantine Secundus

Re: WTB: Tensor Processing Unit

Unread postby Kumba » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:23 pm

robespierre wrote:I wonder if they actually spun chips for this, or just used huge FPGAs?
Bits and pieces of information that I can find imply that the first version of this product was classified by the US DoD, and sold only to Lockheed Martin to run nuclear physics simulations. Setup your usual 16-node O2K rack, with about 4-5 of these boards per node....back in the late 90's, that was pretty boss stuff for number-crunching.

After that, SGI reportedly made some kinds of modifications that allowed them to sell the hardware unclassified, under the name of "Tensor Processing Unit". I'm guessing not a lot were made, given their relative rarity. The picture above can be found on Google. Search for the terms "Michael Woodacre" and "Application Acceleration". It appears TPUs are a custom chipset of some kind, and in 2003, they started making the move towards FPGAs. Even SGI's own installation manual for TPU boards doesn't show the surface of the board. Those slides I found are probably the only pictures of the things to exist.

If I were more of an electrical engineer geek, I betcha some fun things could be had with DMedia boards...all those Xlinix chips on them.
:Onyx2: 4x R14000 :Tezro: 4x R16000 :Fuel: 1x R16000 :Octane: 2x R14000 :O2+: RM7000 :O2: R10000 :O2: RM5200 :Indigo: R4400 :Indigo2IMP: R10000 :Indigo2: R8000 :O3x0: 4x R14000 :Indy: R5000

"The past tempts us, the present confuses us, the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between."
--Emperor Turhan, Centauri Republic

robespierre
Posts: 1573
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:28 pm
Location: Boston

Re: WTB: Tensor Processing Unit

Unread postby robespierre » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:29 pm

You can find a lot of large FPGAs on all sorts of surplus gear, but especially professional video and network devices.
Sometimes it can be reprogrammed to do useful things, but having the wiring schematic fixed presents obstacles. In general you can't make small changes, because the existing code can't be decompiled. You need to start from scratch, but you're limited to their PCB wiring.
http://nsa.unaligned.org/
:PI: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP:

User avatar
Kumba
Posts: 235
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 12:14 am
Location: Byzantine Secundus

Re: WTB: Tensor Processing Unit

Unread postby Kumba » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:33 pm

robespierre wrote:You can find a lot of large FPGAs on all sorts of surplus gear, but especially professional video and network devices.
Sometimes it can be reprogrammed to do useful things, but having the wiring schematic fixed presents obstacles. In general you can't make small changes, because the existing code can't be decompiled. You need to start from scratch, but you're limited to their PCB wiring.
http://nsa.unaligned.org/

Yup, that's Stan's handiwork, the guy who reverse-engineered the SGI Octane and did the initial Linux port :)

I just talked to him last weekend...he's still around, doing amazing things with hardware.
:Onyx2: 4x R14000 :Tezro: 4x R16000 :Fuel: 1x R16000 :Octane: 2x R14000 :O2+: RM7000 :O2: R10000 :O2: RM5200 :Indigo: R4400 :Indigo2IMP: R10000 :Indigo2: R8000 :O3x0: 4x R14000 :Indy: R5000

"The past tempts us, the present confuses us, the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between."
--Emperor Turhan, Centauri Republic


Return to “Hardware Wanted”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest