From processors to potato salad
Pat Patla, vice president and general manager of the firm's server/workstation and embedded division, said it was a "trend in the HPC industry's move to multi-core x86-based supercomputing," and that it was also "clear that the six-core AMD Opteron processor is the best possible choice right now for a world-class supercomputer."
But Fruehe noted that AMD's current technology was still based on a platform developed in 2006 and was, in his words, "ready for a good platform refresh." He went on to say that along with moving up from two to four channels of memory, AMD would also be switching to PCI Express 2.0 in its next round of upgrades.
"We are set up well for June 2010 and November 2010," he said with confidence, adding "from a pricing standpoint we've always been very aggressive, so you get great value along with energy efficiency."
Asked whether he thought GPUs would start to feature more prominently in supercomputers in the near future, Fruehe said he "rarely found a customer who isn't interested in GPUs and how to implement them," but added that "HPC deals are kind of like potato salad - everyone is different."
Of course, AMD isn't the only GPU firm entering the Top500 list this time around. NVIDIA is also saying that 12 per cent of the papers submitted at Supercomputing 09 contain its GPUs, with 20+ system providers - including HP, Dell, Cray, Bull, Appro, NEC, SGI, Sun, SuperMicro, Penguin, Colfax, Silicon Mechanics, Scalable, Verari, Tycrid, Mellanox, Creative Consultants, Microway, ACE and TeamHPC - demoing Tesla GPUs.
The firm also says 11+ software providers are building on CUDA GPUs, including the likes of Microsoft, The Mathworks, Allinea, TotalView, Accelereyes, EM Photonics, Tech-X, CAPS, Platform Computing, NAG, PGI and Wolfram.