Cray's X1E supercomputer
A new scalable supercomputer architecture is in the pipe, with hints at AMD architecture

Cray will introduce a new supercomputer platform dubbed BlackWidow later this year.  The system is designed for massive vector processing, although the company has not disclosed how many processors the new configuration will scale to.

"Building on the success of the Cray X1E system, the new BlackWidow supercomputer will give scientists and engineers a powerful computational tool that offers dramatically improved price/performance and enhanced capabilities designed to solve complex problems that are beyond the abilities of cluster systems using commodity processors," said Peter Ungaro, Cray's president and CEO. "The tightly integrated design will allow customers to configure an optimal mix of vector and scalar computing resources in a single supercomputer running the familiar Linux operating system. This will also give our Cray XT3 customers the opportunity to add high-bandwidth, vector capability in small, cost-effective increments."

Cray claims applications on Cray X1E and Cray X1 systems will need to be ported to the new architecture, implying that BlackWidow is not based on the same CPU architecture.  However, Cray does claim that its newest Opteron-based XT3 supercomputer and BlackWidow carry some design elements for scalable infrastructure, dubbed Rainier. This may indicate that BlackWidow is also Opteron-based.  The Cray XT3 supercomputer can come in light configurations of 320 cabinets, containing 96 processors per cabinet.

A special configuration of the XT3, dubbed Baker, is already scheduled to become the world's first publically revealed petaflop supercomputer and will reside at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories

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