AMD future plans. Physics and supercomputers

11 Jan 2005
AMD has been promoting the first wave of partners that will be producing co-processors for its Torrenza initiative.

Torrenza is a programme that sees AMD open up the specification for Socket 940 and HyperTransport. It will allow other companies to create co-processors that work alongside Opterons and communicate via HyperTransport, opening up some wide possibilities for computing in the server space - and, eventually, in the desktop space too.

Cray, Fujitsu, Sun and IBM have already pledged support for the socket and say they are looking into some interesting ways of harnessing the technology. IBM is working with AMD to create the world's fastest supercomputer for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Called 'RoadRunner', it will see 16,000 Opterons paired up with 16,000 Cell processors in the 940 form factor, communicating on dual-processor motherboards. The Cell processors will handle computation, whilst the Opertons will handle I/O.

Eventually, AMD believes that co-processors could land on the desktop to handle physics and graphics calculations - part of the reason for its purchase of ATI.
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