Intel Cancels 2010 Larrabee Debut

By Michael Feldman

December 7, 2009

While Intel prides itself on maintaining a breakneck speed for processor development, the company’s Larrabee GPU effort just couldn’t to keep pace with graphics technology development at rivals NVIDIA and AMD. Intel revealed late last Friday that the company would not be delivering a Larrabee-based discrete graphics product next year, and has instead decided to use the work as the basis for a software development platform.

The company blamed the cancellation of the product release on hardware and software schedule slips, preventing Intel from launching its standalone, x86-based GPU offering in 2010. In essence, the chipmaker has withdrawn Larrabee from its commercial plans and recast it as a research project.

The statement from Intel reads as follows:

Larrabee silicon and software development are behind where we had hoped to be at this point in the project. As a result, our first Larrabee product will not be launched as a standalone discrete graphics product, but rather be used as a software development platform for internal and external use.

Larrabee is a large complex, multi year project that is aimed at creating a new architectural approach to graphics and to high performance computing.

The performance of the initial Larrabee product for throughput computing applications — as demonstrated at SC09 — is extremely promising and we will be adding a throughput computing development platform based on Larrabee, too.

While we are disappointed that the product is not yet where we expected, we remain committed to delivering world-class many-core graphics products to our customers. Additional plans for discrete graphics products will be discussed some time in 2010.

Our plans to deliver the world’s first CPU’s with integrated graphics this month are unchanged.

The implication is that the R&D effort might eventually yield commercial offerings, whether or not they are released under the Larrabee moniker. For the time being though, AMD and NVIDIA have received an early Christmas present. For the next year, at least, the two GPU makers will have the market to themselves, both in traditional high-end graphics and for GPU computing. Both companies are fielding teraflop-level graphics processors today, with performance and general-purpose capabilities continuing to spiral upward.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the announcement is how wide Intel left the door open to using the Larrabee work as a springboard to HPC-type applications. Up until now, the official story line for the GPU wannabe was that it would be introduced as a discrete graphics chip, and its HPC duties would be limited to experimental use. With the discrete graphics line on hold, Intel now seems more interested in exploring its high performance potential.

The reference to “adding a throughput computing development platform based on Larrabee” could mean that Intel has decided to formally link the Ct research language and Larrabee development together. Ct, which stands for “C/C++ for throughput computing,” is a new parallel programming language that the chipmaker is developing for manycore processing. While Ct is meant to be a general-purpose, data-parallel programming language, it always seemed to be particularly well-suited to the Larrabee architecture.

The Larrabee demo at SC09 last month suggests Intel was already in the process of expanding its thinking about how the technology can be applied. At the conference, Intel CTO Justin Rattner pushed the idea that the 3D Web, a cloud platform that encompasses real-time simulations, multi-view animation, and immersive virtual environments, would be the application driver for HPC in the next decade. The climax of his presentation was a 1 teraflop Larrabee performance running SGEMM (Single-precision General Matrix Multiply). If Intel now believes a Larrabee-type platform has a bigger future in server-side computing, rather than client-side computing, that points to a telling shift in its GPGPU strategy.

The problem for Intel is that its GPGPU rivals already have commercial offerings in the field — AMD with FireStream, and NVIDIA with Tesla. NVIDIA, in particular, has established a broad ecosystem for GPU computing based on its CUDA hardware/software architecture. While the CUDA software environment does not offer the high-level programming environment of Ct, a broad spectrum of ISVs and tool developers have already coalesced around CUDA. In 2010, NVIDIA is set to release its most advanced and most general-purpose Tesla product line for HPC, based on the Fermi architecture. The company also just started shipping its RealityServer platform for 3D Web applications. While the RealityServer doesn’t support the real-time animations/simulations envisioned by Rattner’s 3D Web, it’s certainly a step toward that direction.

It’s possible that Intel will decide to split its discrete graphics processor effort from its “throughput computing” work and simply develop an architecture for each one. On the other hand, the company may just regroup and develop Larrabee 2.0 against the new realities of the GPU market. In the meantime, GPU computing is back to a two-horse race.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays 2017 Wraps Up in Barcelona

May 18, 2017

Barcelona has been absolutely lovely; the weather, the food, the people. I am, sadly, finishing my last day at PRACEdays 2017 with two sessions: an in-depth loo Read more…

By Kim McMahon

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

US, Europe, Japan Deepen Research Computing Partnership

May 18, 2017

On May 17, 2017, a ceremony was held during the PRACEdays 2017 conference in Barcelona to announce the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PRACE in Europe Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NSF, IARPA, and SRC Push into “Semiconductor Synthetic Biology” Computing

May 18, 2017

Research into how biological systems might be fashioned into computational technology has a long history with various DNA-based computing approaches explored. N Read more…

By John Russell

DOE’s HPC4Mfg Leads to Paper Manufacturing Improvement

May 17, 2017

Papermaking ranks third behind only petroleum refining and chemical production in terms of energy consumption. Recently, simulations made possible by the U.S. D Read more…

By John Russell

PRACEdays 2017: The start of a beautiful week in Barcelona

May 17, 2017

Touching down in Barcelona on Saturday afternoon, it was warm, sunny, and oh so Spanish. I was greeted at my hotel with a glass of Cava to sip and treated to a Read more…

By Kim McMahon

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

IBM PowerAI Tools Aim to Ease Deep Learning Data Prep, Shorten Training 

May 10, 2017

A new set of GPU-powered AI software announced by IBM today brings automation to many of the tedious, time consuming and complex aspects of AI project on-rampin Read more…

By Doug Black

Bright Computing 8.0 Adds Azure, Expands Machine Learning Support

May 9, 2017

Bright Computing, long a prominent provider of cluster management tools for HPC, today released version 8.0 of Bright Cluster Manager and Bright OpenStack. The Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular Read more…

By John Russell

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu's Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This