Intel to build a national computing grid for China

Intel China Ltd. announced yesterday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) to build a national computing grid that connects 100 China’s leading universities.

Powered by the Itanium processor family, the company stated in the statement that the computing grid will have a performance of more than 15 teraflops, making it one of the world’s most powerful high-performance computing grids.

“This computing grid is very important for driving technological research and education,” said Zhao Qinping, vice minister of Education. “The MOE pays great attention to this program, which is being planned by a very professional team and their partners.”

The grid project is expected to provide compute power across a range of explorative initiatives, including life sciences, the petroleum industry, earthquake research and commercial financial projects. The project involves China’s leading computer scientists and is designed to provide ‘3 E’s’ to the academic and scientific community, e-Science, e-Information and e-Instruments.

The grid will also be used to help power the ‘Digital Olympics’ initiative, to support the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The company stated the Itanium processor family addresses the requirements of scientific researchers, including superior floating-point performance, memory performance, and support for large data sets.

Within this year, Intel is expected to work with server vendors to provide each university two servers based on the Intel Itanium 2 processor. The grid is expected to link up the 100 universities by the end of 2005.

Grid computing links systems across multiple geographic locations to create a single, virtual computing resource. Working grids are being built worldwide to connect national laboratories, universities and industrial labs. Other known grid developments include the TeraGrid (US), the European Union Grid Initiative, and the Singapore Bioinformatics Institute Grid.