Why Did Intel IT Build Two SuperComputers?

In order to deliver to the continued promise of Moore’s Law, Intel’s Information Technology team needs to enable Intel’s Silicon designers with the tools, capabilities and streamlined processes to bring higher performing processors to market every year.  The latest generation of 45nm products (ie the Intel microarchitecture, codenamed Nehalem) was an especially challenging project for us. 

With Intel design computing demand growing an average of 45% year over year coupled with the rich technology capabilities in the 45nm based Nehalem micro-architecture, the computational requirements of silicon tape-out (the last stage of design before manufacturing) represented an approximate 13x increase in increase in demand from prior 65nm processors. Staring at this demand (1.2 million hours of compute demand per day) plus a need to bring products to market faster and more efficiently, our IT team realized we needed to do something different - our standard grid computing solution that was sufficient for earlier stage design work was insufficient for tape-out. 

Solution: Intel IT built a High Performance Computing (HPC) solution that currently rank in the Top 500 list of supercomputers (#261, #308, Nov 09) and feature a new parallel storage environment to support our 45nm Silicon tape-out process.  The details of this effort are captured in this whitepaper. 

In summary, the Intel IT HPC solution employs two of the world’s fastest supercomputers to create the fastest microprocessors helping Intel achieve the following results.

·         Completed 45nm tape-out in 10day, less than HALF the time of prior products

·         Delivered an estimated incremental value of $44M to Intel

I can’t wait for what tomorrow will bring as Intel IT is already upgrading and evolving this HPC solution to support our future generations of micro-processor designs. Tune in tomorrow at SuperComputing 2009 in Portland where Shesha Krishnapura from Intel IT will present more details on our HPC environment or join us December 8th, 2009 from 10-12am PST for a live chat with Intel IT experts in the Server Room

Chris (twitter)

HPC roadmap.JPG