Intel to help create peer-to-peer supercomputer

As part of Intel Corp.'s ongoing campaign to popularize peer-to-peer (p-to-p) computing, Intel CEO Craig Barrett on Tuesday announced his company's involvement in the creation of a p-to-p supercomputing network.

Engineered in cooperation with members of the worldwide scientific research community and the American Cancer Society, the p-to-p network will utilize pooled computer resources to accelerate medical research, according to an Intel spokesman.

Peer-to-peer architectures link multiple computers directly to one another. With Intel's p-to-p supercomputer, calculations done by individual computers on the network will contribute to solving an overall problem. Anyone wishing to offer their computing resources to the p-to-p network will be able to do so, Vara said.

Exact details were not given, but Vara said those wishing to participate will be able to download an applet and a small problem, calculate that problem, and return it to the p-to-p network server.

Intel hopes the p-to-p virtual supercomputer will be "the biggest computing resource for scientific research ever assembled," Vara said in a statement.

Intel has been touting the virtues of p-to-p computing since the company's formation of a Peer-to-Peer Working Group at last year's Intel Developer's Forum, in San Jose, Calif.

However, questions surrounding security in a p-to-p computing environment still hinder the architecture's acceptance as an enterprise computing solution for business, according to those familiar with the technology.

The building blocks for secure p-to-p computing exist today with methods like encryption. But more work needs to be done before these tools are effective in a p-to-p network, CTO Patrick Gelsinger said in a recent interview.

"Security needs to be implemented for peer-to-peer applications, and it will be," Gelsinger said.

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