IBM vs. Intel in Supercomputer Bout
PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. wants to one-up China in supercomputers and it’s looking for a few good semiconductor architectures to help out.
The fastest supercomputer in the world is currently the Chinese Tianhe-2 running at a peak of 55 petaflops on Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors. The Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Lawrence Livermore (CORAL) project financed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) aims to one-up the Chinese with up to 200 petaflops systems by 2018. The three systems, named Summit, Aurora and Sierra, respectively, have also pitted IBM/Nvidia and their graphics processing units (GPUs) against Intel/Cray’s massively parallel x86 (Xeon Phi) architecture.
“Over 100 experts were involved in picking two different architectures as mandated by the CORAL request for proposals,” the director of science for the National Center for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Labs, Jack Wells, told EE Times. “Two locations — Oak Ridge and Livermore — were chosen to go with IBM, and Argonne was chosen to use Intel processors.”