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Intel partners with Cray to developer HPC systems

Intel Corp. and Cray Inc announced a partnership on Monday to develop new supercomputer technologies which is described as a range of high-performance systems.

Cray, which currently uses AMD processors, has three machines in the top 10 on the latest list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, behind only IBM Corp., which has four.

“We’re excited at the potential of bringing together Intel’s powerful silicon expertise and Cray’s industry leadership in scalable HPC systems,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray.

Ungaro said that he expects the first of these jointly developed HPC systems to hit the commercial market in either 2011 or 2012.

Cray said this deal was not a reaction to AMD’s struggles getting out four-core versions of the Opteron chip, though the supercomputer maker was forced to delay the release of recent systems due to AMD’s woes. So, it must be comforting to bring Intel on as an option.

AMD has been lagging lately in the performance race with Intel. However, its latest four-processor Opteron chip is winning good reviews in the supercomputer community, in part because it offers an efficient technology for retrieving data from memory chips.

Supercomputers are used heavily by government agencies for data-crunching and weapons development, while universities and private companies use them to conduct scientific research and model complex financial transactions.