Intel already has a significant lead in the supercomputing market. Around 80% of the fastest 500 supercomputers run Intel x86 chips, according to the Top500 list of supercomputers issued in November last year.
Intel is also building the software ecosystem before it releases the first commercial MIC chip. The chip maker is demonstrating some high-performance applications at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany, this week as a way to drum up support around the architecture.
The MIC chips will be easy to incorporate in supercomputing applications as they will run common x86 code written using standard programming models, Goh said. It will be easy to off-load processes designed for execution on CPUs to the MIC chips by simply adding a few lines to the existing code base. Intel is providing programming tools to bring MIC extensions to existing x86 code.
There are other parallel programming models that harness the computing power of accelerators like GPUs. Nvidia offers the proprietary CUDA parallel programming framework for its graphics chips. Another parallel programming framework, OpenCL, is backed by companies such as Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Apple and Nvidia.
"Our intent is to have OpenCL support available on the first MIC product -- Knights Corner," said Radoslaw Walczyk, an Intel spokesman.
Top server vendors Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM will also show systems using Knights Ferry chips at ISC.
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