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Larabee still alive for HPC

 

The High Performance Computing market is a small but profitable one. Corporations and research institutions are willing to pay a premium if their research and modeling can be sped up using new technologies.

One of the more recent innovations has been the use of General-Purpose computation on Graphics Processing Units (GPGPU). By using stream processing to harness the incredible parallelism of GPUs, researchers have been able to perform computations faster and cheaper than just using CPUs.

Intel's Larrabee program sought to combine massive parallelism with the programming flexibility of the x86 architecture. Although development of consumer Larrabee graphics cards are on hold, the development of Larrabee technology for the HPC market is ongoing.

Intel plans to launch its first product using this technology as early as the end of 2011. Codenamed Knights Corner, the new chip will use Intel's P1270 22nm process and could scale to more than 50 cores. Knight's Corner will utilize a new Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture, and Intel is expected to develop a product line of MIC-based products that will share common tools, software algorithms, and programming techniques.

The company cites its history of many-core related research programs such as the Larrabee program and Single-chip Cloud Computer as making MIC and Knight's Corner possible. Industry design and development kits codenamed Knight's Ferry are
already shipping to select developers targeting high-performance computing segments such as exploration, scientific research, and financial or climate simulation.

"Intel's Xeon processors, and now our new Intel Many Integrated Core architecture products, will further push the boundaries of science and discovery as Intel accelerates solutions to some of humanity's most challenging problems," said Kirk Skaugen, Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Data Center Group.

"The Intel MIC architecture will extend Intel's leading HPC products and solutions that are already in nearly 82 percent of the world's top supercomputers. Today's investments are indicative of Intel's growing commitment to the global HPC community."

 





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