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Omni-Path Spin-Out Aims To Help HPC Partners Keep Nvidia In Check

Dylan Martin

‘One of our competitors is going full solution. They‘re getting deeper and deeper into not needing anybody else. And so that eliminates choice and creates opportunity for us,’ says Phil Murphy, CEO of Intel Omni-Path spin-out Cornelis Networks, in an interview with CRN.

Can you shed any light on the product road map?

We‘re not going to give out details of the road map publicly, but we’re already engaged on next-generation development. These things take between two and three years, and that’s only if you have a fantastic starting point. So we have a foundation: Intel in 2012 brought in a team from QLogic and technology from QLogic. They also brought in a team and technology from Cray, which had been working on their Aries interconnect in that timeframe, and then [Intel] invested in that a lot for the next five years, and so that’s the technology base that we’re starting from, and, frankly, it would be impossible to try to tackle this without that.

With that, though, we think that can get to market in the next two to three years with a next-generation product, and that will be consistent with the bandwidth that you would expect to see in that timeframe. Then there‘s a lot of IP that we’re developing right now for acceleration in multiple different dimensions, for standard things like congestion control and dynamic adaptive routing, things of that nature, but also things that are specifically focused on accelerating artificial intelligence, which we think is where the huge opportunity, this convergence going on right now and in our industry. What I see happening is that the techniques that have been long in play in high-performance computing are starting to become more and more adopted in artificial intelligence. How do we scale this thing out? Well, guess what? We solved all those problems starting 20 years ago in high-performance computing. And so we just see this market coming towards us as opposed to us chasing that market, which is really exciting.

How many employees do you have?

Today we have 50 employees. That‘s our starting point. Obviously, we need to grow significantly beyond that to do the major things that we have on our plate. We’re going to continue to sell the current existing product line and support that, and of course, develop the next generation products.

Are they all from Intel, or they also coming from different places?

We have a long history in the industry and so when we did our transaction with Intel, we were permitted to make offers to quite a few people at Intel, and we were successful in recruiting those folks. But then we also have many folks that are outside of Intel that we‘ll also bring into the company. The founders have been in the industry for a long time and have a lot of contacts. And there’s a lot of excitement around this, as you can imagine, just for the reasons that you already know.

What we‘ve seen is industry consolidation, so elimination of choice. We’ve seen vertical integration, which makes it really difficult for folks that are not part of that vertical integration, the other OEMs, for example, to know what path to take. We’ve seen one of our competitors — I guess I should be careful what I say here — but one of our competitors is going full solution. They’re getting deeper and deeper into not needing anybody else. And so that eliminates choice and creates opportunity for us.

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