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T-Platforms Group partners with University of Heidelberg

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T-Platforms Group, a provider of HPC systems, software, services and solutions, has this week announced the signing of an MOU with the Computing Architecture Group, headed by Professor Ulrich Brüning, at the University of Heidelberg.  

The two parties will create a European joint venture to develop and market a next-generation interconnect technology for which the Computing Architecture Group has already produced a working FPGA prototype. The new interconnect is the result of a research project at the university dubbed EXTOLL (Extreme Low Latency Interconnect).  

The goal of this project is to develop an interconnect architecture specifically designed to satisfy the needs of low-latency, inter-process-communication in parallel machines. The EXTOLL project encompasses the development of a system architecture, which includes advances on the network layer, the attachment of the individual hosts to the interconnect network (network interface controller), and the software layer to enable applications to exploit the EXTOLL hardware and reach higher performance and efficiency. 

According to the MOU, T-Platforms will invest capital into the project and obtain an equity position in the joint venture. Additionally, the group will invest research and development resources to finalise and launch the technology. EXTOLL, already recognised within the European HPC community, is a high-performance, switchless interconnect technology, and is expected to be available to the worldwide HPC market by the fourth quarter of 2011. 

‘EXTOLL is an integral part of an HPC system that provides inherent support for multi-core environments, virtually unlimited scalability and a tight coupling between computational units,’  said Brüning, EXTOLL project lead, University of Heidelberg. ‘The partnership with T-Platforms will reinforce our development team and enable us to bring this solution to customers, raising EU supercomputing technology.’ 

According to the MOU, T-Platforms will be the first company to integrate the EXTOLL chip on a system board that will be marketed both as part of T-Platforms integrated HPC solutions and as a stand-alone product. EXTOLL is a significant technology milestone for the European Union, as it is the only HPC interconnect technology developed in the EU that will be available on the mass market next year.