Intel Makes Exascale Bet on InfinBand-Based Supercomputing

January 25, 2012: Intel, which played a key role in the creation of the InfiniBand high-speed networking standard a decade ago, has come full circle and bought the IB assets of Qlogic, one of the two remaining companies still actively pushing the technology. While $125 million is chump change for a company that netted $3.4 billion in profits last quarter, Intel says the acquisition will enhance its networking portfolio and provide scalable high-performance computing (HPC) fabric technology, as well as support the company’s vision of innovating on fabric architectures to achieve ExaFLOP/s performance by 2018. At a hundred times faster than today’s fastest supercomputers, it’s an aggressive move, seeking to accelerate performance to a quintillion computer operations per second.

The InfiniBand specification defines a low-latency, high-bandwidth input/output architecture used to interconnect servers, communications infrastructure equipment, storage and embedded systems. It is a true fabric architecture that leverages switched, point-to-point channels with data transfers today at up to 120 Gbits per second, both in chassis backplane applications as well as through external copper and optical fiber connections.

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Author: Steve Wexler

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