Fun and Opportunity at Intel

[ics2008 program committee meeting]

I spent 10 hours this Saturday at Intel attending a program committee meeting for the International Conference on Supercomputing (ICS 2008) to be held in Greece in June. About a dozen of us met in person with several others on the phone as we evaluated the 140+ papers that had been reviewed and made final selections for the conference. I was impressed by the care and thoroughness taken by the committee and am confident we selected a strong set of papers that will make for a good HPC conference.

It just so happened that two of my fellow committee members expressed interest in evaluating Sun’s new UltraSPARC T2 processor. One, from the University of Cyprus, lamented the fact that export restrictions prevent him from getting access to a machine–I need to check to see if that is still true and to find out whether network access to a machine would be viable for evaluation purposes, assuming these systems will be shippable to Cyprus in the future. It was great to see an HPC person so interested in trying the system. Based on other customer data, there is clearly a real value proposition for this processor in HPC.

The second interested committee member works at a small startup in San Francisco. He is tasked with evaluating how well various machine architectures support their application in preparation for scaling up for web deployment. He is interested in assessing the T2’s integer and threading capabilities against their requirements.

His company sounds like a prime candidate for the Try and Buy program under which Sun ships the customer an UltraSPARC T2 system for free with full support for up to 60 days. If the customer doesn’t want the system, we pay to ship it back. If they do want it, it is sold at a significant discount. It’s a pretty cool program, designed to let people try this new technology with as little effort as possible. The Sun Startup Essentials program, which is specifically designed to help start-ups get moving with Sun technology might also be appropriate.


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