Intel has disclosed new technical details of the first commercially-available product from its Intel Xeon Phi product family – a co-processor codenamed “Knights Corner”. In addition to delivering strong performance for highly parallel applications, Intel Xeon Phi co-processor’s ease of use is bolstered by the benefits of familiar programming models, techniques and developer tools available with Intel architecture. With greater use of parallel CPU code, software companies and IT departments do not have to retrain developers on proprietary programming models associated with accelerators.

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Intel announces Xeon Phi co-processor codenamed 'Knights Corner'

Beyond its compatibility with x86 programming models, the Intel Xeon Phi co-processor will be visible to applications as an HPC-optimized, highly parallel, separate compute node that runs its own Linux-based operating system, independent of the host OS. This feature allows more flexibility when implementing cluster solutions that are not available with alternative GPU-based technologies. Made with Intel’s innovative 22nm, 3-D tri-gate transistors, the Intel Xeon Phi co-processor, available in a PCIe form factor, contains more than 50 cores and a minimum of 8GB of GDDR5 memory. It also features 512 bit wide SIMD support that improves performance by enabling multiple data elements to be processed with a single instruction.

Last year, Intel showed a live demonstration of the single Knights Corner co-processor, delivering over 1 TeraFLOPs (1 trillion floating point operations per second) of double precision real-life performance, as measured by DGEMM. At ISC ’12, Intel demonstrated the same effective performance of more than 1 TeraFLOPs per node, but measured by the industry standard benchmark, Linpack. By comparison, in 1997, it took more than 9000 Intel Pentium processors inside the ASCII RED supercomputer to break the 1 TeraFLOPs barrier. While initial production product shipments are planned for the second half of 2012, Intel has announced that the first Intel Xeon Phi co-processor-based development cluster is up and running, and ranked 149th on the Top 500 list, delivering 118 TFLOPs of performance. The Intel Xeon Phi co-processor has strong industry support, with 44 manufacturers, including Bull, Cray, Dell, HP, IBM, Inspur and NEC committed to including it in their system roadmaps.

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