sorry, but yahoo won't let me post the link in wsj
Intel To Buy Cray Supercomputing Assets For $140M
Intel agreed to purchase certain networking assets from supercomputer maker Cray Inc. for $140 million in cash, giving the chip company a boost in the high-performance computing market and strengthening Cray’s balance sheet.
Intel will be buying interconnect technology and related intellectual property from Cray, which Cray has been using in its high-performing computers.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the current quarter, and up to 74 Cray employees will be joining Intel. Cray said the lower headcount will lead to cost savings in future periods, with a “relatively modest amount” of the benefit expected in 2012.
Along with the cost savings, Cray Chief Executive Peter Ungaro said in a press release that the agreement “dramatically strengthens our balance sheet and increases our options for further growth, profitability and creating shareholder value.”
A spokesman from Intel said interconnect is “another area in high-performance computing that’s ripe for innovation.” He added that Cray has the “best-in-class personnel and IP to do that with.”
Cray shares, which were halted ahead of the news, jumped 24% to $8.75 after-hours when trading was resumed. Cray had a market capitalization of $259 million at Tuesday’s close. Intel shares, meanwhile, rose 1% to $27.58 in after-hours trading.
Supercomputers help tackle the toughest scientific problems, including simulating commercial products like new drugs and defense-related applications such as weapons design and code breaking. Most of the biggest machines are used in government-owned labs, but many smaller variants have been used by companies for years in designing products like cars and drugs.
High-performance computing has been a big focus for Intel and fellow semiconductor makers Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia Corp. While supercomputing isn’t a high-volume business, the processors typically are top-performing and command higher prices.
Intel has scooped up several companies of late that provide supercomputing technology. Similar to the Cray deal, Intel bought QLogic Corp.’s InfiniBand networking assets earlier this year for $125 million in cash.
Diane Bryant, general manager of Intel’s datacenter and connected system group, noted that the acquisition of Cray’s assets will help Intel achieve “exascale” computing performance, or a quintillion operations per second. That is a hundred times more than today’s fastest supercomputers, and Intel hopes to reach the goal by 2018
Intel's acquisition of Cray's technology is a recognition that the bleeding-edge technology that goes into supercomputers's CPU's, storage and interconnect systems not only make world-class computers to solve the grand challenges of scienece, but those technolgoies ultimately find their way into mainstream computers used by commercial data centers and mainstream computing, although it often takes a decade or more for it to happen. Parallel computing, multi-core CPU's, RAID, multichip modules and operating system software have their roots in the supercomputer industry.
While Intel can benefit in making parts for today's supercomputers used in government laboratories, the biggest commercial benefit of the acquisition is Intel's ability to accelerate the transfer of technology from the bleeding edge of the exotic to mainstream datacenters.