Intel announces new brand of supercomputing chips called Xeon Phi

I

ntel has announced that its new brand of supercomputing chips will be called Intel Xeon Phi. The company revealed that the new chip, which boasts its Many Integrated Cores (MIC) architecture, will have 50 cores on a single chip.

Though the company has yet to reveal specific details about the project, previously codenamed Knight's Corner, vice president of architecture and general manager of technical computing at Intel Rajeeb Hazra said recently that the chips were expected to go into production before the end of 2012.

This sort of high-performance computing is expected to take off over the next few years, as it competes with the graphics processing units (GPUs) popularised by the likes of Nvidia and AMD.

Intel has argued that GPUs, which are being increasingly used to power supercomputers, are programmed in such a way that they cannot run independently, making it complex and expensive to incorporate them into supercomputers.

Supercomputer manufacturer Cray has said that it is designing a supercomputer named Cascade that will run on Intel's Xeon Phi chips.

"Intel's MIC architecture features a strong balance of performance, programmability and power efficiency, and...will allow us to provide our HPC customers with a supercomputer that is unmatched for balance, scalability, reliability and price/performance on real-world applications," said Cray's senior vice president of high performance computing systems Peg Williams.

The company has announced that it already has a number of customers for the Cascade supercomputer, which will be available in the first half of 2013.