Intel and DOE enter long-term collaboration on advanced computing


Intel announced a long-term agreement of 10-plus years on Friday with the Department of Energy and national labs to collaborate on advanced computing R&D and manufacturing.

Much of the work will involve Argonne National Lab in Lemont, Illinois, near Chicago, to develop and deploy advanced exascale applications, but Intel and DOE will also collaborate to optimize silicon process manufacturing and architecture design for artificial intelligence and high performance computing.

In 2019, Intel and DOE announced a $500 million contract with Argonne to deliver a one exaFLOP supercomputer there in 2021, with Cray as a subcontractor.

Separately, Intel said Friday it has entered a three-year agreement with Sandia National Labs to research the value of neuromorphic computing for large computational problems.  Sandia will use a 50 million Loihi chip system from Intel at the Sandia facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Intel didn’t divulge many details of the latest agreements, including financial information.

On Sept. 22, Intel received licenses from U.S. Commerce Department authorities to continue the supply of some products to Huawei Technologies. The Trump Administration has been urging governments to stop purchasing Huawei gear and created curbs that took effect Sept. 15 barring U.S. companies from supplying or servicing Huawei.

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In an emailed statement, Intel told Fierce Electronics, “We have licenses from the U.S. government to supply certain products to Huawei. These licenses are valid now.”

Other companies such as China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. have sought similar permission to continue serving Huawei. SMIC was affected by the U.S. ban because it uses U.S.-originated equipment to make chips for Huawei and other equipment makers.

Reuters reported that South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix also applied for a U.S. license for Huawei sales, according to an unnamed source.

Intel is party to semiconductor manufacturing trade groups that have lobbied for sales to Huawei based on the revenues such sales represent. Those trade groups have also pushed for continued U.S. dominance in the semiconductor sector helped with government support for R&D and tax incentives.

In its statement announcing the deal with DOE and Argonne, Intel took up the semiconductor leadership mantle: “America’s leadership in the semiconductor industry is a major contributor to our country’s economic and technological success. As America’s semiconductor design and manufacturing leader, Intel has spent decades investing in U.S. innovation and job creation. As the sole U.S.-based advanced semiconductor manufacturer, Intel is committed to protecting industry leadership and our continued partnership with the U.S. government. A reliable, secure, domestic source of leading-edge semiconductors remains critical to our country.”

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