We have just brought you the launch of the Knights Corner many integrated core PCI Express compute accelerator and now we will cover the first (as far as we know) HPC application it will be used in. Intel and Cray signed a collaboration about two months ago. The time may not have been enough to affect the newest Top500 list much, but the companies will no doubt rock the next one.
Speaking of which, Cray's CEO Peter Ungaro was present at the product briefing in which Intel revealed the Xeon Phi brand. There, he revealed the Cascade supercomputer, which takes the concept of adaptive supercomputing and runs with it. Essentially, adaptive supercomputers are energy-efficient and scalable HPC installations that can add new CPUs on top of the ones they were initially designed with. Cascade, running Linux, is starting out with Xeon E5, but will add Xeon Phi coprocessors when Intel is finally ready to mass produce them. As we said here, Intel hasn't actually launched a product per se. It has only launched the Xeon Phi brand, since the renewal of the Top500 list was the ripest occasion possible for such a thing. Knights Corner PCI Express cards will come out by the end of the year (and, thus, earlier than previously suspected).
“Cascade will contain very significant advancements in both hardware and software technology, and when combined with industry-leading processors like Intel Xeon and coprocessors like the Xeon phi, [it] will provide our HPC customers with a system unmatched for balance, scalability, reliability and price-performance on real-world application,” Ungaro said during the briefing on Thursday, June 14, 2012 (last week). HLRS, the University of Stuttgart Germany, and Kyoto University, Japan, have already placed orders with Cray for the use of Cascade.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been told what the performance is or will be, so we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, the Sequoia and its runners-up will be suitable causes for awe.