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July 27, 2007

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 insideHPC.com and HPCwire.

>>10 words and a link

Gordon Moore to appear with Moira Gunn at Intel Forum;
http://insidehpc.com/2007/07/23/gordon-moore-to-appear-at-idf-in-september/

NASA builds world’s largest shared memory system with SGI;
http://insidehpc.com/2007/07/24/nasa-builds-worlds-largest-shared-memory-system/

First 40 Gbps silicon laser modulator developed by Intel researchers;
http://blogs.intel.com/research/2007/07/40g_modulator.html

100/40 GbE Ethernet proposals green lighted by Ethernet Alliance;
http://insidehpc.com/2007/07/24/10040-gbe-ethernet-proposals-authorized/

Intel open sources Threading Building Blocks C++ parallel API;
http://insidehpc.com/2007/07/25/intel-opens-up-threading-building-blocks/

Rumor: HP to buy European HPC manufacturer Bull;
http://insidehpc.com/2007/07/26/rumor-hp-to-buy-bull/

>>MVAPICH enhanced for QLogic InfiniBand products

InfiniBand vendor QLogic announced that MVAPICH, an MPI library for InfiniBand, has now been enhanced to run on QLogic InfiniBand host channel adapters (HCAs). MVAPICH is available from The Ohio State University. (More at http://www.qlogic.com/news-events/details/releases_details.asp?id=7291.)

>>Caneland: Intel’s new quad-core Xeon platform

Intel is blogging this week about the release of its new Xeon (codenamed Tigerton, *sigh*). The Xeon will be sold as the Quad-Core Xeon 7300 at 2.93 GHz, and pushes Intel’s Core processor architecture to mid- and high-end servers. The chip has been shipping in limited quantities to customers since June and will move out in volume in the third quarter.

Caneland? That’s what you get when you combine the Tigerton processor with the Clarksboro chipset (double *sigh*).

Intel has a video interview with Kirk Skaugen, Intel vice president and General Manager of the Server Products Group, linked from the blog entry. According to that post
(http://blogs.intel.com/views/2007/07/caneland_caneland_everywhere.html):

Kirk spoke openly and frankly and gave out quite a lot of new information; mentioning that Caneland has been shipping since June, [he] talked about how we expect Caneland’s 16 cores to double the performance of our previous MP offering on some workloads. Kirk also gave glimpses into what to expect next year from Intel in this slice of the market.

According to The Register’s coverage of the product (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07/24/intel_tigerton_photonics/), the company hopes that Tigerton will push the Opteron out of its market:

Intel hopes the new MP or multi-processor flavor of Xeon will help it compete against AMD’s Opteron chip, which has shown strong performance in large boxes.

>>$10 million for new HPC hardware maker SiCortex

HPC hardware startup SiCortex has announced that they’ve closed a deal for $10 million in venture debt from Hercules Technology Growth Capital to accelerate production and sales and marketing efforts in response to demand for its products.

According to the announcement, the company had taken $21 million in financing in two previous rounds from Chevron Technology Ventures, Flagship Ventures, JK&B Capital, and others.

Oh, what’s “venture debt”? I didn’t know either so I looked it up. It’s like venture capital, but instead of trading equity in the company for cash, the company repays the loan (which is typically made at a premium over market interest rates) over time. More info at http://insidehpc.com/2007/07/26/money-for-sicortex/.

>>Voltaire cutting IPO expectations

You may recall that we reported a few weeks ago that Voltaire was planning an IPO, and that the company thought the step might be worth as much as $100 million.

The AP is reporting this week that Voltaire is lowering its expectations a little, and now expects to walk away with $51.4 million after expenses are paid (versus the $67.5 million after expenses previously expected). The company is offering fewer shares and expects them to fetch less. From the AP (http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070725/voltaire_ipo.html?.v=1):

For the three months ended March 31, Voltaire reported losses of $4.2 million, after paying preferred dividends, on sales of $8.6 million. Voltaire’s top three customers — International Business Machines Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. — accounted for 67 percent of the company’s sales during the quarter.

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John West summarizes the headlines in HPC every day at insideHPC.com, and writes on leadership and career issues for technology professionals at InfoWorld and on his own blog at onlytraitofaleader.com. You can contact him at john@insidehpc.com.