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IBM Power7 hot topic at Hot Chips conference

The Hot Chips conference is focusing on high-end chips for server computers, with IBM's upcoming Power7 as a standout.

The Hot Chips conference in Palo Alto, Calif this week is focusing on high-end chips for servers and scientific computers, with IBM's upcoming Power7 as a standout.

On Tuesday, IBM will give a presentation on its next-generation server chip, the Power7. IBM documentation describes the chip as having up to eight cores. A dual-chip module holds two processors for a total of 16 cores, according to IBM.

Each core has a rated performance of 32 gigaflops, providing 256 gigaflops per processor--one of the fastest chips to date based on this scientific-centric performance benchmark.

Power7 will be used in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications "Blue Waters" supercomputer, the first system of its kind to sustain one petaflop performance on a range of science and engineering applications, according to the NCSA. A petaflop is one quadrillion floating point operations per second.

Power7 "will be the first of a powerful new system design from IBM. The design includes extensive research and development in new chip technology, interconnect technology, operating systems, compiler, and programming environments," according to the NCSA.

Other chips to be described at the conference include the Sparc64 VIIIfx: Fujitsu's new 8-core processor for Peta scale computing. Sun will discuss its "next-generation multi-threaded processor Rainbow Falls" and AMD will spell out its Magny Cours processor, 12-core chip.

Intel will present a paper on its upcoming Nehalem server processor.

Intel will also discuss Moorestown, an upcoming version of the Atom processor targeted at mobile Internet devices and smartphones. Intel will also give a presentation entitled "Understanding the Intel Next Generation Microarchitectures (Nehalem and Westmere) transitioning into the Mainstream."