Intel, Lenovo Expand Datacenter Partnership to AI and HPC
- By John K. Waters
Intel and Lenovo announced a multiyear collaboration
agreement this week, building on their longstanding partnership in the
The two companies will be focusing on "the rapidly growing
opportunity in the convergence of high-performance computing (HPC) and
artificial intelligence (AI)," they said in a statement. The plan is to accelerate
the convergence of HPC and AI "to unlock new levels of customer insight."
"Intel is laser-focused on helping our customers spur
innovation and discovery through the convergence of AI with HPC," said
Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group. "Our extended
collaboration with Lenovo combines the best of both companies' innovations to
drive our customers' progress forward even faster."
The two companies plan to bring together a range of
This partnership will enable
the two companies to "cascade" breakthrough HPC and AI technologies
to users of any size -- what Lenovo calls "from exascale to everyscale." Exascale computing refers to computing systems
capable of at least 1 quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per
"Our goal is to further accelerate innovation into the
Exascale era, aggressively waterfalling these solutions
to scientists and businesses of all sizes to speed discovery and outcomes," said Kirk Skaugen, executive vice president and president of Lenovo's Data
Center Group, in a statement.
Lenovo will be optimizing Intel's full portfolio of HPC and
AI hardware and software solutions. A key focus area will be building out
Lenovo's smarter software offerings, including optimizing
Lenovo's Intelligent Computing Orchestration (LiCO)
HPC/AI software stack for Intel's next-generation technologies and alignment
with the Intel One API programming framework.
Additionally, the collaboration
will enable distributed asynchronous object storage (DAOS), which is the
foundation of the Intel exascale storage stack. DAOS advanced storage
frameworks and other exascale-class software optimizations will help HPC and AI
users run their applications with greater ease, the companies said.
Both Intel and Lenovo are also aiming to add other partners
to the mix to create a new ecosystem -- they're calling it "ecosystem
enablement" -- for the convergence of HPC and AI. This includes building
joint HPC and AI Centers of Excellence around the world to foster research and encourage
university centers to develop solutions that address global issues like genomics,
cancer, weather and climate, and space exploration.
Their earlier decision to combine Intel's 2nd Gen Xeon
Scalable platform with Lenovo's Neptune liquid cooling technology -- a joint
engineering effort utilizing a unique combination of HPC IP from the two
companies -- has produced what can be fairly called remarkable results. According to
Lenovo, 173 of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers in 19 markets run on
its servers, and 17 of the world's top 25 research universities rely on
"Lenovo's Neptune liquid cooling, in combination with
the 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform, helps customers unlock new insights
and deliver unprecedented outcomes at new levels of energy efficiency,"
Lenovo has built its datacenter business on its 2014
purchase of IBM's x86-based server business. The datacenter accounts for about
a 10th of the Chinese PC maker's overall business, but revenues have begun
growing at a brisk pace. According to IDC, the
company ranked fourth in the worldwide server market at the end of 2018 (behind
Dell, HPE/New H3C Group and IBM, and tied with Inspur Power Systems), with a market share of
6.2 percent. But it generated $1.46 billion in server revenue in the fourth quarter of
last year, which represents 34 percent growth year over year.
John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS. He can be reached at [email protected].