NEC Corp., a company known for electronics chips and supercomputers, said that it would like to double its global supercomputer market share in the following four years. The company hopes that sales of supercomputers in Europe will pick up and the offerings from the company will be enough competitive there.
“NEC will increase to 5% its share of the supercomputer market by 2014,” said Fumihiko Hisamitsu, general manager of NEC’s high-performance computing division, in an interview with BusinessWeek.
At present 80% of the supercomputer market is controlled by IBM and HP. But smaller players are going to boost their market share in the following years as a result of rising demand towards high-performance computing (HPC) in Europe. Earlier this year Fujitsu promised to raise its supercomputer share from 2.2% now to 10% in the following five years.
“The barrier to entry in Europe is lower than in the U.S., where there’s a ‘buy American’ mentality. There’s a potential for us to grow our business there,” said Mr. Hisamitsu.
The world market for high performance computers, including machines that cluster standard servers, will expand 10% annually to $14.6 billion.
At present NEC prefers to build supercomputers based on its own microprocessors, which stipulate customers to develop software that only works on nodes made by NEC. However, there is a trend towards x86-based supercomputers these days and many HPC systems even utilize special accelerators – such as AMD FireStream or Nvidia Tesla – that are powered by highly-parallel graphics processing units. It remains to be seen whether NEC shifts its strategy to off-the-shelf x86 chips or even GPUs or will continue to offer proprietary microprocessors.