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
Purdue develops HPC skills as part of new curriculum;
IBM realigns its hardware around SMB customers;
Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies announces projects;
Free data storage software available;
Intel announces new 45nm chips but delays new Core 2 quads;
NSF solicits for Blue Waters allocations;
>>European Weather Forecasting Center Sticks with IBM through 2011
IBM announced this week that it has a new contract with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to upgrade the center’s High Performance Computing Facility (HPCF) with two new POWER6 clusters, each with a peak performance of about 145 teraflops. The new systems will replace the current POWER5+ clusters. The contract also establishes a roadmap to the next phase of IBM HPC deployments in 2011, presumably with POWER7 technology.
According to Caroline Isaac, Deep Computing Business Unit Executive, IBM United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa:
In 2008 IBM will provide ECMWF with new IBM POWER6 supercomputer systems that are five times more powerful than the currently installed supercomputers. This will help ECMWF to make significant improvements in medium-term weather forecasts through higher resolution models of weather systems and the capability to process massive amounts of data. By 2011 ECMWF will receive a further doubling of performance and will be one of the first organisations worldwide to use IBM’s planned future High Performance Computing technologies.
The complete announcement can be found at http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2003864.html.
>>Intel calls out the EU
You may recall that back in July the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority, accused Intel of exercising monopoly power to crush AMD in Europe’s chip market. At the time, Intel was given 10 weeks for a formal response, but issued an immediate release on its Web site titled “Intel States Its Actions in Europe Benefit Consumers,” indicating they had a, um, different view of things.
Anywho, the DailyTech brings us up to speed on the two extensions the EU gave Intel, resulting in a confidential written reply from Intel being filed with the EU this past Monday (http://www.dailytech.com/Intel+Responds+to+EU+Charges+With+Demands+of+Its+Own/article10238.htm).
According to the International Herald Tribune, the response included an invitation for the Commission to hold hearings to probe the depths of Intel’s innocence (http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/07/technology/chip.php):
Intel, the world’s biggest computer chip maker, has asked European Union regulators for a hearing as part of its response to claims that it illegally used rebates to wrest away sales from Advanced Micro Devices.
The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority, received the company’s written reply Monday, an Intel spokesman, Chuck Mulloy, said.
Not everyone is as optimistic as Intel on their chances for beating the rap. Again, the IHT:
“Intel is going to have a really significant challenge in the proceedings before the EU,” said David Balto, an antitrust lawyer based in Washington and a former U.S. Federal Trade Commission policy director. “The EU is much more sensitive to the long-term competition effects by dominant firms and much less ready to accept simple snapshots of a company’s conduct.”
What’s at stake? As the DailyTech observes, it’s all about the Benjamins:
As per EU regulations Intel may be fined up to 10 percent of its annual sales for antitrust violations. Microsoft initially tried to argue against the EU when it was hit with similar charges and the end result was a painful $690M USD fine. Intel has even more to lose as it is constantly price cutting to stay competitive and has smaller profit margins, which force it to engage in yearly layoffs.
>>IBM says the end is near
Ashlee Vance writing at The Register today brings us news that IBM is stepping up its rhetoric against rival HP (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/10/ibm_itanium_five_years/):
“The end of life for Itanium will occur in the next five years,” IBM VP Scott Handy told us, during an interview here in Austin, Texas. “(HP) will have to announce some kind of transition.”
Oh, and IBM swings at Sun, too:
Historically, Sun has long sold far more Unix boxes than rivals, using its higher volumes to justify the in-house production of UltraSPARC chips. But Handy thinks that Sun’s x86 business is cutting into those volumes, making UltraSPARC, like Itanium, a doubtful long-term proposition.
I’m Itanium agnostic, but I think it’s a little early for IBM to be throwing stones, what with its glass house and all.
Sun and Intel have bet on chips that are built to handle highly threaded software; IBM’s gear emphasizes the more classical heavyweight single thread with faster clock. Both will survive in the market for a while, but in a few years IBM may be seeing the business end of some of the rocks it’s throwing at HP and Intel now.