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Total Posts: 486
Joined: Jan 2015
Posted: 2020-11-11 15:50
Anybody here thinking about the possibility of using Apple's new processors for HFT, algo trading, or research workloads? At the end of the day, these are still consumer products, so I'm not betting money on it. And the first-gen M1 will almost certainly not be competitive with Xeons. But there are some potentially killer features that might tip the scales:

* Neural engine. Could potentially be huge for liquidity-taking strats that lean on more complex ML models. I've never been able to get inference on even modest sized nets under 30 micros on a Xeon. On Apple processors, inference should be near instant.

* Low latency memory. Sure if you're super-optimized, you should barely get any cache misses, but this saves a lot effort spent staring at Valgrind.

* GPU on a low-latency SoC interconnect. Makes it more feasible to call the GPU in the hot-path

* ARM chipset. It's probably not competitive with x86 yet, but theoretically RISC-y ARM desktop processors should have higher potential by ditching all the legacy architecture in Intel chips.

Of course, Apple's not the first ARM or SoC in the datacenter. Nor do I think they'll even explicitly target enterprise. It might also be a dealbreaker if they never put ethernet on the SoC. But given the sheer scale of their resources, and looking at how they pushed performance on the A14, I'd expect them to deliver some really high-powered chips in a couple of generations.

Thoughts? Comments? Insults?

Good questions outrank easy answers. -Paul Samuelson


Total Posts: 1366
Joined: Jun 2005
Posted: 2020-11-11 17:00
By googling around the subject I found that few years ago they delivered AppleCrate ii system. Curious, if this concept would have any chance to get new life.

... What is a man
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? (c)


Total Posts: 1244
Joined: Feb 2007
Posted: 2020-11-13 23:51
Their server hardware is definitely going to excel. I took the existing Macbook air data from the 1st generation doodad and compared it to my threadripper. Single threaded it wins against the 'ripper, which is pretty impressive as the threadripper runs at a significantly higher clock (with significantly higher power consumption, and festooned with giant fans).

Mind you I absolutely loathe osx, and haven't bought their hardware for my own devices since 2010/10.6 or so. But it's an impressive win for Apple if these numbers hold up. Medium/long term it might be end of Intel architectures.

"Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious."
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