HP and Intel to accelerate HPC efforts

HP and Intel expand on plans to up their high performance computing efforts at a conference in Grenoble.


HP and Intel are hoping to accelerate their high performance computing (HPC) efforts "into overdrive," the partners said during a press conference today.

At the HP HPC EMEA Competency Centre in Grenoble, both asserted their commitment to the HPC market an industry increasingly catering for the enterprise market, rather than just high-end needs.

As part of this, Xavier Poisson, director of sales for cloud computing and HPC for HP in EMEA, said the number of nodes at the centre is to double from 3,000 to 6,000.

This project should be completed by the end of the summer, Poisson told IT PRO.

He claimed HPC could cater to all kinds of businesses today.

"HPC today is really something to use in real life and it is bringing value to everything you do today," Poisson said.

"What we see... is that HPC is tackling every single vertical. We used to see it in the past for only large industries."

He explained how HPC could help avoid human risk as well, particularly in the trialling process of manufacturing, such as crash testing.

"It is not only for huge academic pursuits It is covering everything, everywhere. From designing a plane to creating a film," he added.

Intel said it was working on ways to bring HPC capabilities to a wider audience, claiming there was a "missing middle" market who were not using the technology available to them.

"There is the missing middle who are not using HPC why are they not doing it? Because either they have not seen the opportunities or they see it as too complicated," said Stephan Gillich, Intel's director for HPC in EMEA.

"We want to make it easier for those end users to make use of HPC for simulation needs."

Gillich spoke of the advantages "intelligent features" in HPC technologies can bring, such as Intel Turbo Boost, which automatically cranks up the frequency of certain cores to get more power for particular applications when other cores are not in use.

The HPC market

The HPC market looks set to heat up in the coming years as it becomes more relevant to a wider range of businesses.

As a sign the HPC market is growing in prominence, Fujitsu recently re-entered the UK market to help supply the infrastructure for the HPC Wales project.

Google, meanwhile, has set up an initiative offering researchers one billion hours of computational core capacity to help take on some of the biggest scientific challenges the world faces.

HP and Intel plan to get ahead of the game and IDC figures quoted by Poisson showed the former has the lead over rival IBM.

In terms of revenue market share, HP had 31.7 per cent at the last count, compared to IBM's 29.7 per cent.

Intel has a solid grip on the HPC processor market too, powering 80 per cent of the top performing systems globally, according to the TOP500 rankings.

The number one system is using XEON 5670 and three of the top five feature Xeon processors.

Both Intel and HP will continue to invest heavily in HPC technologies, with the former concentrating heavily on relevant chip architectures.

HP, meanwhile, has decided to focus a significant amount of its time on memristor (short for memory resistor) technology to achieve essentially infinite data retention time.

The tech giant will also be concentrating heavily on photonics and fibre optics to produce high bandwidth and high energy efficiency.

According to IDC, Europe is under-investing in HPC, whilst other nations are growing their supercomputer investments dramatically.

"I think the European community is already doing something about this, but the thing to take away is IDC and other people like us, we are of the opinion HPC is a real enabler for the economy," Gillich added.

"It is a key thing for Europe to be a knowledge economy."

He explained how Intel was looking at ways to up HPC speeds from the one petaflop top capability of today.

"The next milestone is 1,000 times a petaflop - the exascale goal," Gillich added.

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