Intel’s 512-bit AVX-512 SIMD extensions for the x86 instruction set architecture are used for various compute-intensive workloads on workstations and servers. However, the AVX-512 hardware execution units are power hungry and are a headache for developers.
Software icon Linus Torvalds recently condemned AVX-512 and urged the company to develop a better solution to complex HPC problems. The developer of Linux went so far as to call the AVX-512 a “power virus” and wished it would “die a painful death”.
“I hope that the AVX512 will suffer a painful death and Intel will start fixing real problems instead of trying to create magical instructions and then creating benchmarks that they can look good on,” said Torvalds.
“I hope Intel returns to the basics: get the process going again and focus more on normal code that is not HPC or another senseless special case.”
Torvalds added that he believed Intel should spend the CPU transistor budget on regular FPUs or GPUs rather than AVX-512 devices, as the former could benefit everyone while only select applications could use AVX-512 .
“I want my performance limits to be reached with normal integer code, not with an AVX-512 performance virus that takes away the highest frequency (because people ended up using it for memcpy!) And takes away cores (because they take up useless trash cans) Room), ”exclaimed Mr. Torvalds.
Intel does not support all AVX-512 instructions on all processors. Server CPUs largely support the extensions because many HPC workloads use the latest extensions from Intel. Client processors that were supported until recently, however, only select AVX-512 instructions. In the meantime, the latest Ice Lake chips from Intel and the upcoming Tiger Lake CPUs AVX-512 are pretty much supporting as the chipmaker hopes that developers of client software will also use the technology.
Note that Linus Torvalds isn’t against extensions for the x86 instruction set architecture per se, but he says AVX2 is more than enough.
“I absolutely loathe FP benchmarks and I know that other people care a lot,” said Torvalds. “I just think that AVX-512 is just the wrong thing. […] This is an excellent example of something that Intel did wrong, among other things due to the increasing fragmentation of the market. Stop with the special waste and let all the important things that are important to everyone run as well as possible. Then make an FPU that is hardly good enough by the way and people will be happy. AVX2 is much more than enough. “
About real world technologies