Watson’s decisive win over two of Jeopardy’s top champions on national television earlier this year could turn out to be the most effective infomercial in the history of IT. Capitalizing on that accomplishment, IBM is working hard to highlight the supercomputing technology at every opportunity, including this week’s rollout of new and improved Power7-based servers.
This week Intel launched its new Westmere EX lineup, the latest Xeons aimed at large-memory, multi-socketed servers. The new chips come in 6-, 8- and 10-core flavors and will be sold under the name Xeon E7. According to Intel, these latest CPUs deliver 40 percent greater performance than the previous generation Nehalem EX processors while maintaining the same power draw.
Will ARM’s ubiquity in the consumer market doom the x86 in HPC?
Dell has introduced an ultra-dense rack server built for high performance computing. Based on the latest and greatest Opteron 6100 series (“Magny-Cours”) processors, the PowerEdge C6145 puts two independent four-socket servers in a 2U chassis, offering up to 96 cores, 1 TB memory, and 10 PCIe slots.
The dominance of the x86 in desktop machines, servers, and supercomputers will soon be challenged by the ARM microprocessor. That according Tudor Brown, ARM Holdings’ president and co-founder, who this week took a few shots at the x86 dynasty. Brown’s comments and recent events suggest future ARM-based processors could form a credible threat to high-end CPUs made by AMD and Intel.
Intel settles with NVIDIA; AMD jettisons CEO.
NVIDIA’s CUDA is easily the most popular programming language for general-purpose GPU computing. But one of the more interesting developments in the CUDA-verse doesn’t really involve GPUs at all. In September, HPC compiler vendor PGI (The Portland Group Inc.) announced its intent to build a CUDA compiler for x86 platforms. The technology will be demonstrated for the first time in public at SC10 this week in New Orleans.
In an HPC market that seems determined to go down the CPU-GPU path, upstart Convey Computer may yet offer a few surprises. The company today unveiled the sequel to its HC-1 platform it introduced in 2008. Called the HC-1ex, the new system adds a lot more performance and capability, but retains the original x86-FPGA co-processor design.
Big Blue sees green in mainstream high performance computing market.
Although 2010 still has a few months left to go, the competition in the x86 server processor arena for 2011 is already setting up to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. Both AMD and Intel are introducing new high-end server chips with revamped microarchitectures next year, and, at the same time, upping the core counts over their previous generation products.