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Intel thinks integration as it moves toward exascale

Agam Shah | Feb. 18, 2013
Intel's aim is to lead the way in creating the first exaflop supercomputer, so it is making architectural improvements to its processors with the hope to reach that goal between 2018 and 2020.

The acquisitions were considered shrew d, giving Intel a range of products that are key to supercomputers, including processors, interconnects, networking and storage. Intel already offers the Xeon Phi co-processor, which has up to 60 cores, for supercomputers and that works alongside Xeon server CPUs.

Intel is initially focusing on integrating Infiniband, a high-speed interconnect used in supercomputers as an alternative to Ethernet and Fibre Channel. Intel recently updated its True Switch line of products, which is the first refresh of products originally acquired from Qlogic.

The new True Switch line brings the controller closer to the processor while improving performance via software-based fabric management and an additional card to provide more communication lanes. The new product can extend to 10,000 ports, and even more through specialized hardware, Yaworski said. The improvements can help speed up tasks such as computational fluid dynamics, which is key in designing aircraft.

True Switch is designed for the Xeon E5-2600 processor lineup code-named Romley, which is based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. The True Switch products includes specialized chips that connect the host to the fabric, and also networking equipment such as adapters, switches, software and cables.

The company has an added advantage of researching and manufacturing its products, which helps in effective integration at the processor level, Yaworski said.

"We are uniquely positioned to make this connection between the fabric and the processor," Yaworski said.

 

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