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Tuesday, 03 April 2012 13:09

Intel wants HPC super chip

Written by Nick Farrell



Wants into the mainframe market


Chipzilla is spending a small fortune trying to come up with a  "superchip" for HPC systems that the company hopes will raise its supercomputing profile.

Diane Bryant, vice president and general manager for the data centre and connected systems group said that the superchip design will provide high-bandwidth throughput with the use of InfiniBand interconnect technology. InfiniBand is low-latency interconnect that joins servers and storage units in data centres. The technology can provide low-latency communication between processors and servers in data centres while keeping CPU utilisation rates low.

Bryant did not say  how the InfiniBand technology will be used with the superchip. However, the product could fit right into Intel's existing range of supercomputing offerings, which include Xeon server CPUs and the MIC co-processor, which mixes standard x86 cores with specialized cores to boost HPC tasks. Intel's latest Xeon E5 and a 50-core MIC chip, codenamed Knights Corner, are being paired in a supercomputer called Stampede, which is scheduled for deployment next year at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas. The supercomputer will deliver peak performance of 10 petaflops (or 10,000 trillion operations per second).
High-bandwidth fabric will be very important in high-performance systems going into the future, Bryant said.

The superchip plan follow Intel's announcement in January to buy parts of Qlogic's InfiniBand business, which the chip maker said would help push internal bandwidth inside systems as processor performance increases and server performance scales up. The acquisition was also a step ahead in the effort to provide high-performance storage and server bandwidth in the race to exaflop computing.


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