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HP accelerates server accelerator effort

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Not content to rely on the computing muscle supplied by Intel and AMD, HP has upped its focus on server accelerators. The hardware maker today announced a new program aimed right at incorporating things such as floating point boosters into its machines.

The fresh HP Accelerator program joins a Multi-Core Optimization Program launched in June. Both efforts charge after similar goals with HP looking to improve the performance of software. Generally speaking, the Accelerator program covers hardware add-ons that can fit into HP servers and speed up specific tasks such as floating point operations. Meanwhile, the Multi-Core push centers on crafting code that can spread well across many-cored boxes.

Customers will only feel so much excitement around HP's "programs." We're basically talking about HP certifying third party gear, running some benchmarks and then providing a dash of marketing and engineering help.

Looking more broadly, however, HP's somewhat forceful charge with this type of technology proves impressive. Big business customers embracing high performance computing technology are salivating over some of the accelerators on the market. And we're also in desperate need of help with creating more multi-threaded code that can run on today's four-core and tomorrow's eight core chips. It's good to see a vendor of HP's size helping out on both fronts.

There are a number of accelerator players out there now using things such as FPGAs and other custom co-processors to give software a boost. Typically, these accelerators will grab routines that aren't handled well by general purpose processors. They often plug into PCI slots or directly into processor sockets.

HP has highlighted a few early partners in the Accelerator program. You'll find floating point whiz ClearSpeed, algorithm booster Celoxica with its RCHTX unit and software conversion specialist RapidMind.

As promised, HP has also issued a new toolkit as part of its Multi-Core program. "The Multi-Core Optimization Toolkit is a set of products, reference material, HP best-practice research, white papers and links to HP and partner website content that helps customers address and resolve how to effectively use multi-core technology in the marketplace," HP said.

It's interesting to watch the behemoths jump on the multi-core bandwagon. Even Microsoft, which seemed in denial about multi-core chips, has started to embrace the idea. In a Register exclusive, computing god Dave Patterson told us that Microsoft will buy and fund some of Berkeley's RAMP systems. This boxes uses tons of FPGAs to help software makers craft and test multi-threaded software. ®

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