Accelerating Open Science Research, A Collaboration With TACC

I’m really excited about work we are doing with the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin and wanted to share some of the details with you. You can also listen to my recent podcast on MIC. (A link to the TACC announcement on this topic is here.)

You might remember Intel first talked about its plans for the Intel Many Integrated Core (Intel MIC) processors last fall at IDF and our VP Kirk Skaugen gave an update at IDF Beijing earlier this month. The Intel MIC architecture provides optimized hardware performance for data parallel workloads. We are making a lot of progress on MIC since SC10 (where we did a demonstration on the impact of making football helmets safer) and we are accelerating our efforts even still.  But today, I’d like to focus on work we are doing with TACC in the development, porting, and optimization of science and engineering applications for future Intel MIC processors.

We recently delivered our “Knight’s Ferry” software development kit (SDK) to TACC and they have now started porting some of the more interesting science applications they encounter from all over the HPC spectrum. They also started creating new science applications optimized for future Intel MIC products.  Applications like molecular dynamics, and real-time analytics involving massive, irregular data structures like large trees and graphs should all see benefit from this development over time.

One of the keys to our approach with MIC is having a consistent programming model and optimization approach between our Intel Xeon processors and our future MIC processors. Due to that shared architecture, developing and adapting applications for MIC is intended to be far more straightforward than alternative architectures. We expect this to ultimately save cycles for developers as compared to porting code to another architecture.

Our partner, the Director of TACC Dr. Jay Boisseau has this to say about our collaboration on MIC: "We are excited to be working with Intel to help researchers across the country take full advantage of both future Xeon processors and forthcoming Intel MIC processors to achieve breakthrough scientific results. These powerful technologies will enable our researchers to do larger and more accurate simulations and analyses while using well-established current programming models, enabling them to focus on the science instead of the software."

I am often asked how our future MIC architecture products fit in to our overall HPC strategy. The Intel MIC architecture, along with our Intel Atom, Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors create a complete portfolio of optimized solutions for a broad set of mainstream HPC workloads. Our future Intel MIC products will enable customers like TACC to draw on decades of x86 code development and optimization techniques and create new science and new discoveries.

These are the kinds of applications that will solve some of the world’s biggest research challenges, as well as hopefully lead to great scientific discoveries in the future. THAT is what I love about my job.