Intel MIC—the Tesla killer?

Knights Corner architecture deployed at TACC—targets exaflop machines of next decade.

At the Society of Exploration Geophysicists’s convention last month, HP was showing a mock-up of Intel’s new ‘Knights Corner’ high performance computing hardware based on its ‘many integrated cores’ (MIC) architecture. Intel has been taking its time to respond to the avalanche of Nvidia GPU-based HPC solutions and the proprietary Cuda parallel processing language.

Knights Corner targets, inter alia, seismic imaging applications. A novel 22-nanometer manufacturing process scales to over 50 cores per chip. Cores are small and low-powered with modest single-thread performance. But aggregate chip level performance is claimed to be much higher. The hardware on show was a very fat PCIE card, several of which can be rack deployed. A ‘Knights Ferry’ dev kit includes extended versions of Intel’s C, C++, and Fortran compilers along with Parallel Studio. An early adopter of the new kit is the Texas Advanced Computing Center whose ‘Stampede’ is a 10 petaflop Linux cluster. Stampede will include ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Intel Xeon and MIC cores and should be running in 2013 when it is expected to be among the most powerful computers in the world. More from

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