Tuesday, 21 June 2011 15:49

Intel looking for low-power route to exascale computing


Intel is working with European researchers to seek ways of massively increasing the processing power of supercomputers without similarly increasing their energy requirements.

Performance of at least one ExaFLOP/s (one quintillion floating point operations per second) may be at least two orders of magnitude faster than today's supercomputers, but Intel is planning to get there by the end of the decade.

What's more, it aims to deliver that processing speed without a commensurate increase in power consumption.

Noting that 77% of the latest TOP500 supercomputers use Intel processors, the company has established three European labs with local partners. One of the goals of those labs is to begin to address the energy efficiency challenges of exascale computing.

In related news, Intel and its partners have demonstrated early results with 'Knights Ferry', the software development platform for 'Knights Corner', the code name for Intel's first Many Integrated Core Architecture (MIC) product that will use the company's 3-D Tri-Gate transistors.

"The programming model advantage of Intel MIC architecture enabled us to quickly scale our applications running on Intel Xeon processors to the Knights Ferry Software Development Platform," said Professor Arndt Bode of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre. "This workload was originally developed and optimised for Intel Xeon processors but due to the familiarity of the programming model we could optimise the code for the Intel MIC architecture within hours and also achieved over 650 GFLOPS of performance."

SGI, Dell, HP, IBM, Colfax and Supermicro are all working with Intel on 'Knights Corner' based products.



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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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