School 42 lifestyle

AMD Ryzen™ PRO: Helping Disrupt Engineering Education at 42

Partner: 42

Industry: Education

AMD Technologies at a Glance: AMD Ryzen PRO Processor & AMD Radeon PRO Duo Graphics

42 is a private, nonprofit, tuition-free computer programming school created and funded by French billionaire Xavier Niel, founder of the telecommunication company Illiad.

Its program is designed to prepare students for the workplace using an instructional design that means students learn skills for the digital world and for the technology industry. The school was first opened in Paris in 2013. 42 Silicon Valley opened in Fremont, California in 2016.

The school does not have any professors, does not issue diplomas or degrees, and is open 24/7.

“We want our students to be at the center of education,” observed David Giron, academic and technical coordinator. “We want them to learn by themselves. That’s why we don’t have any teachers, we don’t have any classrooms, we don’t have any lessons of any kind.”

The J-Gravity project is an attempt to simulate the universe as detailed by the Janus Cosmological Model.

Researchers at the University of Zurich have explored this model using a simulation including a two-trillion-particle set. The goal of 42’s project is to expand this simulation to a universal scale.

“We have all the particles in a cube-shaped space,” explained Phil McLaughlin, a 42 student and lead designer of the J-Gravity project.

“We were running on hundreds of computers working together because of the computational magnitude of the problem. But with the new Ryzen PRO hardware, we’ll be able to replace all one hundred of those computers with just this one box.”

Phil McLaughlin, 42 student and lead designer
J-Gravity project

Helping Disrupt Engineering Education

“We divide the cube until it contains a number of particles that’s an appropriate size for the GPU to handle. Then we use the Barnes-Hut algorithm to approximate thousands of distant stars into just one. That reduces the scope of the problem, but it is still very difficult, and it requires a very large number of comparisons.”   Giron took that challenge to AMD. “We needed many teraflops of computing power for all these calculations,” he said. “We contacted AMD, and AMD brought us a supercomputer with a completely new CPU inside.”                                                        

AMD provided its new Ryzen PRO processor for the J-Gravity project. Founded on the award-winning AMD Ryzen processor, the powerful AMD Ryzen PRO offers up to 8 cores and 16 threads for commercial-grade PCs, enabling up to 62%1 more multithreaded performance on the Ryzen™ 7 Pro 1700 than select competing solutions.

“We use that power for our renderer and part of our computations. We use AMD Radeon Pro duo cards to do all the compute through OpenCL,” McLaughlin said. “It was so great to use this kind of computer. Before AMD”, McLaughlin added, “we were running on hundreds of computers working together. We had to do that because of the computational magnitude of the problem. But with the new Ryzen PRO hardware and AMD Radeon Pro Duo, we’ll be able to replace all one hundred of those computers with just this one box.”