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August 25, 2006

The Week in Review

by John E. West

Here’s a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week’s HPC news stream as reported at and HPCwire.

>>10 words and a link

UPDATE: Bull CEO unequivocally denies HP acquisition rumors;

InfiniBand Low Latency Technical Forum to take place in September;

McLaren F1 team deploys more SGI;

UAB deploys 5.6 TFLOPS Blue Gene/L for biomedical research;

Evergrid DCRM enters beta, enables live application migration;

>>EU charges Intel with using kickbacks to crush AMD

According to the AP ( the European Union has charged Intel with abuse of monopoly power to crush its AMD competition:

The European Commission claimed that Intel gave “substantial rebates” to computer makers for buying most of their x86 computer processing units, or CPUs, from Intel; that it made payments to manufacturers to get them to delay or cancel product lines using AMD chips; and that it sold its own chips below cost on average to strategic server customers on bids against AMD products to try to muscle into that business.

Intel has ten weeks to respond, and getting it wrong could cost Intel up to ten percent of its global revenue for each year it broke the law (sales last year were $36 billion).

In a press release issued last week, Intel senior vice president and general counsel Bruce Sewell said it’s all ok ( Really. Just trust them — after all, when was the last time a big company took advantage of its position to crush a competitor? Oh yeah…

The EU’s last monopoly charges against Microsoft are wending their way through EU courts with a ruling on the $600 million fine expected in mid September.

>>PathScale moves in a SiCortex

SiCortex announced on Wednesday that they’ve acquired the PathScale compiler technology and team from QLogic.

“This will allow PathScale LLC to focus on delivering even greater compiler performance and multicore processor scalability,” said Margaret Lewis, director,Commercial Solutions, AMD. “PathScale remains an important member of the ecosystem of AMD partners who are working with AMD to evolve multicore processing.”

QLogic acquired PathScale back in early 2006 for $100 million in cash, mainly to get at their InfiniPath interconnect technology as they bought into the InfiniBand market. Compiler development continued, but it didn’t really fit in with QLogic’s core business, and there were concerns about the future of the product.

Now that SiCortex has acquired the business, the future of the MIPS side of that compiler technology seems secure given that SiCortex’s solutions are built around MIPS. The company is assuring customers that the x86-64 line is safe, too.

“The PathScale compiler suite is highly valued by a number of our customers in underpinning their investment in Streamline’s Linux Cluster Solutions,” says John Taylor, CTO of Streamline Computing. “We welcome the news that this technology is to be developed further in support of X86/64-based architectures, as well as being used by SiCortex for their innovative high-processor-count solution. We look forward to continued interaction with the PathScale compiler team.”

This story has several embedded links for context; you can find them at

>>The money potpourri

This is the time of year when companies go reporting, and there was a bundle of financial news in the HPC community over the past week. Here’s a quick summary of what’s happening along with links to more details.

Sun exceeded its margin targets and turned an $864 million 2006 loss into nearly half a billion dollars in profit this year. (

French HPC manufacturer Bull made a little over $6 million in Q2, up 15 percent from the same quarter last year. (

After warning that it was lowering initial expectations for its much anticipated IPO, Voltaire priced its IPO at $9 per share this week and announced it’s offering fewer shares. The company now expects to walk away with just over $50 million in cash after expenses. Voltaire says it will use the money to fund product development and repay outstanding debt. (

Both Mellanox and QLogic announced they made money in the quarter just ended. (

Rackable wasn’t so lucky, losing $40 million while revenue actually went up during the quarter to $82 million. (

Enterprise storage vendor Isilon announced that strong sales during the second quarter pushed its customer base to 539. The company added customers like Madison Square Garden and Softbank Technology. Despite this growth, the company lost a little over three and a half million dollars last quarter. Isilon also announced two new storage products this week that deliver up to 1.6 petabytes in a single file system and volume. (


John West summarizes the headlines in HPC news every day at You can contact him at Too busy to keep up? Make your commute productive and subscribe to the Weekly Takeout,’s weekly podcast summary of the HPC news week in review.