Coprocessors Gain Momentum in HPC and Big Data

An IDC study shows why coprocessors are gain ground in the HPC market so fast, and Cray, Supermicro and Cirrascale show support for the new Intel Xeon Phi products.

John Rath

June 18, 2013

3 Min Read
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At the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany Monday the Intel Xeon Phi product family had a home run day - powering the new 33.86 petaflop/s champion Milkyway-2 supercomputer, and then announcing new Xeon Phi products. An IDC study shows why coprocessors are gain ground in the HPC market so fast, and Cray, Supermicro and Cirrascale show support for the new Intel Xeon Phi products.

IDC market study shows coprocessors gainingA 2013 study by International Data Corporation (IDC) of worldwide high performance computing (HPC) sites show that not only are they now performing big data analysis, but that they are employing coprocessors and accelerators more than twice as much as the past two years. The study of 905 HPC sites concluded that the proportion of sites employing co-processors or accelerators in their HPC systems jumped from 28.2 percent in the 2011 version of the study to 76.9 percent in 2013. The 2013 end-user study also confirmed the IDC supply-side research finding that storage is the fastest-growing technology area at HPC sites. "The most surprising finding of the 2013 study is the substantially increased penetration of co-processors and accelerators at HPC sites around the world, along with the large proportion of sites that are applying Big Data technologies and methods to their problems," said Earl Joseph, Program Vice President for Technical Computing at IDC.

Cray CS300 features Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors. Cray announced that the Cray CS300 line of cluster supercomputers is now available with the new Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor x100 family. Available with air or liquid-cooled architectures, the Cray CS300 systems provide superior price/performance, energy efficiency and configuration flexibility. "Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors use the same familiar programming model as the widely used Intel Xeon processors allowing higher aggregate performance for   most demanding applications in the most efficient and time-effective way," said Raj Hazra, vice president and general manager of Technical Computing Group at Intel. "Cray CS300 systems containing Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors deliver extreme performance for the highly parallel applications of the scientific community while maintaining the productivity benefits of familiar Intel CPU programming."

Supermicro supports new Intel Phi x100 products. Supermicro announced a wide range of server solutions supporting Intel’s new Xeon Phi coprocessors. Supermicro's HPC solutions unify the latest Intel Xeon processors with the Xeon Phi coprocessors to dramatically accelerate development and performance of engineering, scientific and research applications. Supermicro solutions are available in 0.7U SuperBlade, 1U, 2U, 3U SuperServer and high-density 7U 20x MIC SuperBlade or 4U 12x MIC FatTwin designed to support the highest performance 300W Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors. “Supermicro has a proven record to adopt new technologies that accelerate the deployment of systems assisting in key engineering and research applications,” said Rajesh Hazra, Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Technical Computing Group. “With our five new Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor product offerings, Supermicro continues to demonstrate a capability to deliver innovative, time to market solutions to the high performance computing community.”

Cirrascale supports new Intel Phi coprocessors. Cirrascale announced its upgraded VB5400 blade server featuring expanded support to handle up to eight of the newly released Intel Xeon Phi 5120D, 3120A, 3120P, 7120P, and 7120X coprocessors.  The company has upgraded the design of its VB5400 blade server containing dual proprietary 80-lane PCIe switches to facilitate increased cooling and power efficiency when placed in its BladeRack 2 Series platforms. Each Intel Xeon Phi 5120D, 3120A, 3120P, 7120P, or 7120X coprocessor provides efficient vectorization, threading, and parallel execution that drive higher performance numbers for a wide range of applications. "The latest additions to the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor family allows us to continue to offer advanced performance for highly parallel workloads," said David Driggers, CEO, Cirrascale Corporation. "Our customers and partners can rest easy knowing that these latest Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors work synergistically with Intel Xeon Processors and therefore allow our updated VB5400 blade server system to remain flexible, while providing robust energy efficiency and reliability."

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