Intel Equipped to Lead Industry to Era of Exascale Computing

Intel® Many Integrated Core (Intel® MIC) Architecture Shows Strength as Critical Component of Intel’s Exascale Computing Solution

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

  • With collaboration partners, Intel aims to deliver complete technology solution for exascale performance by the end of the decade.
  • Demonstrations from key supercomputing centers such as Forschungszentrum Juelich, Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, CERN and KISTI underscore momentum of Intel® Many Integrated Core Architecture.
  • Intel processor-powered supercomputers make up 77 percent of the latest TOP500 list of supercomputers and nearly 88 percent of all new entries in 2011.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and HAMBURG, Germany, June 20, 2011 – At the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), Kirk Skaugen, Intel Corporation vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group, outlined the company’s vision to achieve ExaFLOP/s performance by the end of this decade. An ExaFLOP/s is quintillion computer operations per second, hundreds times more than today’s fastest supercomputers.
Reaching exascale levels of performance in the future will not only require the combined efforts of industry and governments, but also approaches being pioneered by the Intel® Many Integrated Core (Intel® MIC1) Architecture, according to Skaugen. Managing the explosive growth in the amount of data shared across the Internet, finding solutions to climate change, managing the growing costs of accessing resources such as oil and gas, and a multitude of other challenges require increased amounts of computing resources that only increasingly high-performing supercomputers can address.
“While Intel® Xeon® processors are the clear architecture of choice for the current TOP500 list of supercomputers, Intel is further expanding its focus on high-performance computing by enabling the industry for the next frontier with our Many Integrated Core architecture for petascale and future exascale workloads,” said Skaugen. “Intel is uniquely equipped with unparalleled manufacturing technologies, new architecture innovations and a familiar software programming environment that will bring us closer to this exciting exascale goal.”
Paving the Way to Exaflop Performance
Intel’s relentless pursuit of Moore’s Law — doubling the transistor density on microprocessors roughly every 2 years to increase functionality and performance while decreasing costs — combined with an innovative, highly efficient software programming model and extreme system scalability were noted by Skaugen as key ingredients for crossing the threshold of petascale computing into a new era of exascale computing. With this increase in performance, though, comes a significant increase in power consumption.
As an example, for today’s fastest supercomputer in China, the Tianhe-1A, to achieve exascale performance, it would require more than 1.6 GW of power – an amount large enough to supply electricity to 2 million homes – thus presenting an energy efficiency challenge.
To address this challenge, Intel and European researchers have established three European labs with three main goals: to create a sustained partner presence in Europe; take advantage of the growing relevance of European high-performance computing (HPC) research; and exponentially grow capabilities in computational science, engineering and strategic computing. One of the technical goals of these labs is to create simulation applications that begin to address the energy efficiency challenges of moving to exascale performance.
Skaugen said there is the potential for tremendous growth of the HPC market. While supercomputers from the 1980s delivered GigaFLOP/s (billions of floating point operations per second) performance, today’s most powerful machines have increased this value by several million times. This, in turn, has increased the demand for processors used in supercomputing. By 2013 Intel expects the top 100 supercomputers in the world to use one million processors. By 2015 this number is expected to double, and is forecasted to reach 8 million units by the end of the decade. The performance of the TOP500 #1 system is estimated to reach 100 PetaFLOP/s in 2015 and break the barrier of 1 ExaFLOP/s in 2018. By the end of the decade the fastest system on Earth is forecasted to be able to provide performance of more than 4 ExaFLOP/s.
Intel MIC Architecture Software Development Momentum
The Intel MIC architecture is a key addition to the company’s existing products, including Intel Xeon processors, and expected to help lead the industry into the era of exascale computing. The first Intel MIC product, codenamed “Knights Corner,” is planned for production on Intel’s 22-nanometer technology that featuring innovative 3-D Tri-Gate transistors. Intel is currently shipping Intel MIC software development platforms, codenamed “Knights Ferry,” to select development partners.
At ISC, Intel and some of its partners including Forschungszentrum Juelich, Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), CERN and Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) showed early results of their work with the “Knights Ferry” platform. The demonstrations showed how Intel MIC architecture delivers both performance and software programmability advantages.
“The programming model advantage of Intel MIC architecture enabled us to quickly scale our applications running on Intel Xeon processors to the Knights Ferry Software Development Platform,” said Prof. Arndt Bode of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre. “This workload was originally developed and optimized for Intel Xeon processors but due to the familiarity of the programming model we could optimize the code for the Intel MIC architecture within hours and also achieved over 650 GFLOPS of performance.”
Intel also showed server and workstation platforms from SGI, Dell, HP, IBM, Colfax and Supermicro, all of which are working with Intel to plan products based on “Knights Corner.” “SGI recognizes the significance of inter-processor communications, power, density and usability when architecting for exascale,” said SGI CTO Dr. Eng Lim Goh. “The Intel MIC products will satisfy all four of these priorities, especially with their anticipated increase in compute density coupled with familiar X86 programming environment.”
TOP500 Supercomputers
The 37th edition of the Top500 list, which was announced at ISC, shows that Intel continues to be a force in high-performance computing, with 387 systems or more than 77 percent, powered by Intel processors. Out of all new entries to the list in 2011, Intel powered systems accounted for close to 88 percent. More than half of these new additions are based on latest 32nm Intel Xeon 5600 series processors which now alone power more than 35% of all systems in TOP500 list, three times the amount comparing to last year.
Source: Intel Newsroom.

DailyTech – Chinese Boy Sells One of His Kidneys For iPad 2

You’re buying it wrong?

kidney

A Chinese teen has made headlines due to the lengths he went to obtain Apple, Inc.’s (AAPL) latest and greatest gadget, the iPad 2 tablet.

I. “I Want The One With the Bigger GBs!”

“I wanted to buy an iPad 2, but I didn’t have the money,” recalls a 17-year old boy identified only by his surname, “Zheng”.

But without a college degree, Zheng’s prospects weren’t looking great.  Average wages in major Chinese cities range from 1,000 to 5,000 RMB (CN¥).  Zheng would like fall on the low end, making between 1,000 and 1,500 RMB.  At the current going exchange rate of 500 RMB to $77.13 USD, it would take the young man several months to get the slick device.

So he made a shocking decision that brings to mind a legendary webcomic from the comic/satire blog The Oatmeal — he decided to sell an organ for the Apple device.  He recalls, “When I surfed the internet I found an advert posted online by agent saying they were able to pay RMB20,000 to buy a kidney.”

Sneaking out of his home, the youth traveled north to the city of Chenzhou in Hunan Province.  Visiting a local hospital, he had his kidney removed.  He was hospitalized for three days then discharged, with 22,000 RMB (appr. $3,394 USD) in hand.  He used the money to reportedly buy his iPad as well as a MacBook and iPhone.

He tried to conceal his new gains from his mother, but she grew suspicious when she saw the Apple gadgets.  Experiencing medical complications, the young man confessed what he did.  States his mother, identified as “Miss Liu”, “When he came back, he had a laptop and a new Apple handset. I wanted to know how he had got so much money and he finally confessed that he had sold one of his kidneys.”

Shocked Miss Liu took her son to the Chenzhou police to report that he was the victim of a crime.  But the agents whom Zheng had brokered the deal with had vanished, their cell phones dead.  And the hospital claimed it contracted out its urology department to a private businessman.  It denied knowledge of the businessman’s identity or the surgeries he was performing.  It appears the case has now been closed, due to lack of evidence.

II. Case Brings to Light Illicit Organ Trade

The irony of the incident is rather great, given that Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs is himself an organ donor recipient, having received a replacement liver after experiencing complications from his battle with pancreatic cancer.

What makes the incident even more sad and ironic is that Zheng’s organ is unlikely to go to one of his many countrymen that need it.  It is estimated that a million people in China need a transplant every year, but less than 10,000 receive organs.

While some locals are able to purchase organs on the black market, many black market organs instead go to foreign “transplant tourists”.  A report in the Japanese media last year claimed that foreigners were paying in excess of $80,000 USD for black market transplants in China.  At that price most Chinese simply cannot afford the potentially life-saving transplant (the yearly income of blue-collar workers in China is around $6,000 USD).

III. Apple Demand: A Double Edged Sword For China

Older citizens in China have seized upon the news story as example of how China has lost its communist ways to the “evils” of unregulated capitalism.  Writes one commenter on Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV website, “This is a failure of education, the first purpose of which is to ‘propagate morality’. This teenager’s stupid behaviour is a manifestation of his radically materialistic values.”

Another commenter chimes in, “To sell a kidney in order to buy consumer goods? What vanity! It is undeniable that modern Chinese teenagers’ morality is declining. This is something we must all think about.”

In China Apple devices are often more expensive then they are in the U.S.  The gadgets are increasingly coveted by youth as status symbols.  The high demand among teens for the devices has led to many other issues, including fights outside Beijing Apple stores during the recent launch of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4.

The international demand for Apple products has been a double-edged sword for China economically.  While it has created a large number of jobs at manufacturing facilities, Apple’s demands of cheaper contracts than its rivals and higher quality have led factories to force tens of thousands of Chinese to slave away long hours in what some say amounts to “sweatshop” conditions.  A recent internal audit from Apple revealed numerous abuses of workers at Chinese plants that contribute to the company’s gadgets.
Source: DailyTech.