Intel Xeon Processors E5 Product Family Revolutionizes Computing
The 39th edition of the Top500 list recently announced that the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family has achieved a new supercomputing milestone as the fastest adopted new processing technology to power 44 systems, including three Petascale-class supercomputers. The "SuperMUC" supercomputer at LRZ in Germany, which ranks fourth on the list, delivers over 2.9 PetaFLOPs of performance, making it the most powerful in Europe, as well as the largest installation based on the new Intel Xeon processors E5 family.
In addition to that, Intel Corporation has also recently announced Intel Xeon Phi as the new brand name for all future Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) Architecture-based products. Available at the end of 2012, the first generation of Intel Xeon Phi product family (codenamed "Knights Corner") will complement the existing Intel Xeon processor E5-2600/4600 product families, delivering new levels of performance for highly parallel workloads. The Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor has strong industry support, with 44 manufacturers including Bull, Cray, Dell, HP, IBM, Inspur and NEC, all of whom are committed to including it in their system roadmaps.
"The Intel Xeon processor E5 family is powering exponential performance gains in high performance computing and we’re proud that it is having such a profound impact on the industry as demonstrated by its presence inside 44 of the Top500 supercomputers," said Raj Hazra, Intel Corporation VP and General Manager of Technical Computing at Data Center and Connected Systems Group. "As we add Intel Xeon Phi products to our portfolio, scientists, engineers and IT professionals will experience breakthrough levels of performance to effectively address challenges ranging from climate change to risk management. This is the next step of Intel’s commitment to achieve exascale-level computation by 2018, and create a unique technology category that delivers unprecedented performance for today’s highly parallel applications."
Made with Intel’s 22nm, 3-D tri-gate transistors, the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor - which is available in a PCI-e form factor - contains more than 50 cores and a minimum of 8GB GDDR5 memory. It also features 512b wide SIMD support that improves performance by enabling multiple data elements to be processed with a single instruction. In addition to delivering breakthrough performance for highly parallel applications, Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor’s ease of use is bolstered by the benefits of familiar programming models, techniques and developer tools available with Intel architecture.
The Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor will also be visible to applications as an HPC-optimized, highly-parallel, separate compute node that runs its own Linux-based operating system independent of the host OS. This feature allows more flexibility when implementing cluster solutions that are not available with alternative GPU-based technologies.
Although initial production product shipments are planned for the second half of 2012, Intel has announced that the first Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor-based development cluster is up and running and ranked 149th on the Top500 list, delivering 118 TFLOPs of performance. While the first generation primarily targets high performance computing (HPC), future generations of Intel Xeon Phi products will address enterprise datacenters and workstations. Owing to power-on in early 2013, the first Petascale class supercomputer powered by a combination of the Intel Xeon processor E5 family and Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors will be “Stampede.” Intel expects a growing number of Petascale-class machines in the next year that take advantage of the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors’ programmability and performance efficiency.
With this, providing a two-week weather forecast with the same level of accuracy as in a 48-hour forecast, or mapping the human genome within 12 hours at less than US$1,000 as compared with the current two weeks at $60,000, are two examples of the many challenges that HPC will address with more compute capacity. At the rate we are going, Intel forecasts that the most powerful supercomputer in 2013 will feature the amount of CPUs greater than 1 percent of its own server CPU shipments in 2011.
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