An Intel spokesperson confirmed to BetaNews this morning that an alliance between the manufacturer and Cray Inc. will lead to future Cray supercomputers being endowed with Intel Xeon processors.
Itanium processors -- which are designed with explicit parallelism from the outset will not be involved in this partnership, according to Intel spokesperson Nick Knupffer. Instead, the partnership will center around what Knupffer described as "Cray's interconnect to Intel's future generations of processor technology."
Though it's not official, Knupffer's guidance points toward a likely exploitation on the supercomputer level of Intel's new QuickPath memory interconnect technology for its upcoming 45 nm Nehalem architecture. This is Intel's long-awaited counterpart to AMD's HyperTransport -- that company's long-time ace in the hole. For over a year and a half now, AMD and IBM have been semi-involved with their own project, which at least at the outset promised to pair both AMD x86 and IBM Cell processors in an unusual display of both performance and parallelism.
It's parallelism that is the key to making any supercomputing project work with multiplicities of server-grade CPUs. While IBM Power architecture machines hold the top spots on the University of Mannheim's semi-annual Top 500 Supercomputers list, Intel x86 architecture (primarily Xeons) claimed 322 positions on last November's list. The fastest Cray on that list was only #72, and was bested by an Apple Xserve cluster.
Intel, Supecomputer, Processor, CPU, Cray Supercomputer, Xeon