On June 26 at Intel Corp’s User Group conference in San Diego, California, the company’s chief executive Andy Grove is expected to reveal plans to expand the role of technology developed at its Supercomputing Systems Division, today’s edition of our sister paper Unigram.X reports. The $90m-a-year business has hitherto been focussed firmly on the scientific […]
On June 26 at Intel Corp’s User Group conference in San Diego, California, the company’s chief executive Andy Grove is expected to reveal plans to expand the role of technology developed at its Supercomputing Systems Division, today’s edition of our sister paper Unigram.X reports. The $90m-a-year business has hitherto been focussed firmly on the scientific market, and is not expected to change fundamentally. It is generally regarded as the market leader in massively parallel or highly scalable – systems, and does not have a large sales force, or a commercial mission. However, Intel is expected to begin offering unbundled subsystem technologies developed at the unit, such as Paragon’s 175Mbps interconnect mesh technology that has already been licensed to Unisys Corp – as building blocks for the new breeds of scalable systems it expects to permeate the industry. Intel is wary of treading on its system partners’ toes, and it is thought that it will leave the rest of the industry commercialise the technology. It has already provided a hint of what could be achieved with the eight-way system it demonstrated running Microsoft Corp’s NT Tiger multimedia server software, which could be offered OEM, it says. Intel is also likely to indicate an evolution path for users of Supercomputing Systems’ 80860 RISC-based Paragon supercomputers, who appear to have been left hanging, with no 80860 follow-on in sight. Insiders say they will be offered the next generation of Intel’s iAPX-86 series in some form as the basis of future systems, likely modified for floating-point performance, perhaps with attached 80860s as a co-processor or in some other hybrid arrangement – ironically the division’s very first parallel hypercube machines used the 80286 processor. It also has rights to take the Pentium systems from its Unisys relationship, which Unisys will eventually offer with up to 128 CPUs when they ship in mid-1995 at $10,000 or so per MIPS. Supercomputing Systems would go after scientific markets, according to Unisys, which has already delivered 16-way configurations to software houses. Intel makes the boards, Unisys the Intel-developed mesh interconnect, Intel assembles the backplane and interconnect system, Unisys puts the cabinets together. Unisys uses its own Distributed Communications Processor on the systems and it is not clear that Intel would use this in any OEM offerings.