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Intel Developer Tools Target Clusters

Intel is best known as the company behind the microprocessor inside most desktop computers and servers, but it's also making its mark at the high end of computing.

This week, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company released five software development tools for the creation of distributed applications used in high-performance computing clusters.

The five Intel cluster tools are designed to speed developers in creating, debugging and tuning high-performance applications for clusters while reducing the costs associated with development.

Intel Trace Analyzer and Collector 6.0 ($499) captures and displays MPI traffic to find the communications bottlenecks within the cluster. Intel said this new version includes improved data presentation and scalability for large clusters.

MKL ($499) is a set of highly optimized, thread-safe, mathematical functions for engineering, scientific and financial applications requiring high performance.

MPI Library 2.0 ($499) enhances deployment flexibility by allowing applications to run on multiple network architectures without changing code.

IPP 5.0 ($199) benefits multi-core and high-performance computing (HPC) platforms by offering full thread-safe functions including optimized encryption, string handling and multimedia functions.

Intel VTune Performance Analyzer 8.0 for Linux ($699) improves software performance by finding bottlenecks through advanced profiling technologies, which is of critical importance with multi-core and HPC.

"Cluster systems are ever more important, as the world utilizes massive computational power to solve the most challenging problems," said James Reinders, director of marketing for Intel's software products division, in a statement.

According to IDC, the worldwide market for high-performance technical servers grew by 30 percent in 2004.

IDC's data shows that the HPC market hit $7.25 billion in 2004, up from $5.6 billion in 2003. The high-performance technical server market includes supercomputers, as well as high-end/high-capacity clusters. Last year marked a recovery for the HPC space, which fell after hitting a high point of $6.1 billion in 2000.

Growth was driven partially by clusters, the sector at which Intel's development tools are aimed. IDC says clusters were worth $2.7 billion, or 37 percent of the overall HPC market, last year.

More than two thirds of all 500 systems on the Top500.org ranking of supercomputer performance are based on Intel processors, an increasingly important market for the chipmaker. Eighty-one of the systems use Intel's EM64T-based processors (for Xeon Extended Memory 64-bit Technology). IBM's Power processors are in 73 of the systems, and IBM has three of the top ten-ranked systems.

AMD's Opteron chips are gaining ground, with 55 systems using them, compared to only 25 systems six months ago. Intel's Itanium 2 processor did lose ground, with only 46 systems using the high end processor, down from 84 a year ago.

Intel said all five tools are compatible with leading development environments and can be used in conjunction with other popular software development tools.