Why Intel’s mindset is critical to long-term solutions for HPC advances


Anyone who has been in the HPC world for a long time can see how much easier the introduction and maintenance of systems has become over the years despite the ongoing challenges. Intel has long considered it critical to improve scalability and ease of deployment in HPC. Moving from yesterday’s reliance on one-off systems to today’s solutions for workload-optimized configurations required a tremendous amount of collaboration behind the scenes with ISVs, standards organizations and OEM partners. It’s important work because the easier and more efficient HPC systems are to use, the faster we can advance important scientific advances and business applications.

Bring order into chaos

About 15 years ago, the adoption of HPC systems was very different from what it is today, and the challenges were significant. In the early days, each OEM created their own configurations and there were no defined standards. ISVs had to validate their software in different configurations. For example, testing on Red Hat Linux wasn’t enough. ISVs had to test on specific clusters with the specific connections that customers wanted to use. Intel realized the need to make life easier for ISVs and customers.

Around 2010, Intel began working on ways to solve the problems associated with the introduction and maintenance of HPC systems. As part of its early efforts, the company developed the Intel HPC platform specification to provide more commonality and interoperability between systems for better compatibility with ISV applications. Intel also introduced the Intel Cluster Ready program to create general “ready-made” configurations for key user groups. The program has evolved into today’s Intel Select Solutions program and builds on the teachings and technological advances of the past decade such as the Intel Cluster Checker.

A focus on collaboration and problem solving

The continuous advances Intel is making in solutions are only possible with the work of armies of engineers and close collaboration with a wide variety of industry players. Intel is focused on meeting the rapidly evolving ISV and customer needs. This requires working closely with ISVs – listening to their feedback, assisting with their solutions, and assisting with partner engagements. Intel believes ISVs know what is best for their software and works with them to optimize Intel’s basic solutions for their industries and target markets.

Intel also makes an important contribution to important open source codes such as Linux, LAMMPS and GROMACS. Intel participates in organizations such as the OpenFabrics Alliance, which are critical to the advancement of HPC. In cooperation with cloud service providers, gaps between on-prem and cloud solutions are closed so that users can use computing cycles in the cloud efficiently and easily.

All of this continued collaboration and innovation has helped fuel the growth of the HPC ecosystem.

Always closer to the “out-of-the-box” optimization

HPC systems have come a long way thanks to the work of Intel and its partners. Today’s Intel Select solutions simplify deployment and make it easier for users to get closer to the maximum computational value of their systems. The Intel Select Solutions portfolio includes a number of configurations customized for critical workloads, including:

  • Genomics Analytics
  • HPC / AI convergence
  • Simulation & modeling

Because Intel engineering groups test different configurations for each type of workload and put them through their paces with critical applications, customers can be sure that Intel Select Solutions is ready to focus on the job at hand. And the reference configurations give OEMs an ongoing start to their work.

“Boston was asked to join the Intel Select Solution program to use our expertise and Intel products to develop a simulation and modeling solution. The process was led by Intel who assisted us when necessary to get the solution across the finish line. Since its inception, we have received ongoing sales and marketing support in getting this product to the right customers. ”

– Konstantinos Mouzakitis, Head of HPC, Boston

It’s about solving problems faster and more efficiently

Ultimately, organizations and companies are interested in doing their job as easily and efficiently as possible. Intel has long been proactive in building standards and industry adoption, trying to find the greatest flexibility in HPC solutions so that end users can progress with their greatest challenges. Intel’s commitment to HPC solutions is key.

Learn more about how Intel is accelerating HPC advancement through its long-term commitment to solutions in this blog post from Trish Damkroger, Intel Vice President and General Manager of HPC.

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