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Interconnects Look to HPC List

Proponents of dueling interconnect technologies say the record will show their pet products growing at a clip, when figures on the world's leading supercomputing sites are revealed in June.

April 15 was the last day for entries to the Top 500 Supercomputer Sites, an online listing of the world's largest high-performance computing (HPC) sites, which has been renewed regularly since 1993 by representatives from the University of Mannheim in Germany; the University of Tennessee; and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center in the U.S.

Currently, the Top 500 is renewed twice yearly; the last list was issued in November 2003, and the next Top 500 is set to be unveiled in June at the International Supercomputer Conference in Heidelberg, Germany.

The supercomputing market is vigorously pursued by interconnect vendors, which generally view it as a niche where wins result not only in financial payoffs (one vendor's estimate, based on figures from IDC, puts the market size at about $500 million annually), but in unique visibility, contacts, and prestige.

In one camp are the InfiniBand suppliers, such as InfiniCon Systems Inc., Topspin Communications Inc., and Voltaire Inc., which say their technology is specially tailored for use in supercomputer clusters. At least one maker of InfiniBand products says the new Top 500 roster will reveal substantially more major supercomputing sites using InfiniBand. "I think you'll see in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 sites using InfiniBand," says Chuck Foley, executive VP at InfiniCon.

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