Intel Corp. and NEC Corp. this week said that they would team up to develop more advanced “technologies” for supercomputers of tomorrow. Even though the details are scarce to say at least, firstly, the companies will collaborate on high-performance computing (HPC) platforms and then may join forces to implement certain chip-level innovations designed specifically for super computers.
The initial focus of the companies' collaboration will be the development of hardware and software solutions to enhance the memory bandwidth and scalability of Intel Xeon processor-based platforms. Such enhancements are intended to benefit systems targeting not only the very high end of the scientific computing market segment, but also to benefit smaller HPC installations.
“Intel's substantial investment in the Intel architecture, including the development of processors, chipsets, software compilers and other related products has expanded the usages of Intel Xeon processors in both the volume and high-end HPC market segments. Now with NEC further innovating on Intel Xeon processor-based systems, Intel is poised to bring Intel Xeon processor performance to an even wider supercomputing audience," said Richard Dracott, general manager of Intel's HPC group.
Next-generation Intel Xeon processors featuring Sandy Bridge micro-architecture will feature Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) for x86 architecture, which will speed up performance of supercomputers as well as multimedia. Potentially, such chips will compete against NEC SX vector processor. However, NEC plans to continue to sell their existing SX vector processor-based products, hence, the two companies do see how AVX-enabled chips, Itanium chips and SX chips can co-exist on the market
"NEC's substantial experience in the development of vector processing systems, including vector pipeline management, memory sub-systems, and high speed interconnect technology is a natural fit for taking Intel architecture further into new markets. NEC will enrich its HPC product portfolio through this collaboration as well as continuous enhancement of its vector supercomputer," said Fumihiko Hisamitsu, general manager of HPC division at NEC.