On June 8 Intel formally announced the third in a series of joint research centers focused on driving high-performance computing systems to exascale levels. Exascale means performance surpassing a billion billion computations per second — enough to hypothetically scan through every word ever spoken by humanity in about the time it took you to read this sentence.
These research centers are all new members of the Intel Labs Europe network:
- Exascale Computing Research Center, Paris (France) - December 2009
- ExaCluster Laboratory, Juelich (Germany) - May 2010
- ExaScience Lab, Leuven (Belgium) - today
Reaching the next level of supercomputing performance is about more than just reaching an arbitrary milestone. It’s about crossing many different thresholds of possibility that reside in the Exa-scale domain, to provide scientists and doctors new tools to draw new insights from of massive amounts of data. It’s about, along the way, developing the technologies that will one day allow the cloud to scale to level where massive distributed computers can simulate reality and synthesize “holodeck” like science-fiction experiences. And, over the long term, high performance tecnhologies become personal technologies — your PC today probably has more computing capability than a supercomputer from 20 years ago. Reaching exascale is about shaping the coming decades of computing.
These labs begin research as Intel unveils new plans for the Intel® Many Integrated Core architecture, which build upon Intel’s history of many-core related research including Intel’s “Larrabee” program and Single-chip Cloud Computer. Taken together, this represents a major effort from Intel to work with industry and academic collaborators to break down the barriers to unlocking truly phenomenal computing capabilities for the future.
by Sean Koehl - Technology Evangelist