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Global tech giants partner for high-speed interconnect

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A consortium of nine technology companies – Intel, Cisco, Dell EMC, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Facebook, Google, Alibaba and Huawei – has been formed in order to create and launch a new standard, called Compute Express Link (CXL). This project will accelerate ever-expanding data workloads, such as high-performance computing, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), rich media services, and cloud applications.


Jim Pappas, director of technology initiatives at Intel, said in a statement: “CXL is an important milestone for data-centric computing and will be a foundational standard for an open, dynamic accelerator ecosystem. Like USB and PCI Express, which Intel also cofounded, we can look forward to a new wave of industry innovation and customer value delivered through the CXL standard.”


The new cluster of tech giants, described as “the biggest group of influencers driving a modern interconnect standard”, also affirmed the CXL Specification 1.0, which enables a high-speed interconnect between datacenter central processing units (CPUs) and workload accelerators, such as graphics processing units (GPUs), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and similar purpose-built accelerator solutions.


The first version of this specification is intended “to address growing high-performance CPU-to-device, interconnect needs and provide improved memory coherency for higher performance of data-intensive applications”.


“Facebook is excited to join CXL as a founding member to enable and foster a standards-based open accelerator ecosystem for efficient and advanced next generation systems,” said the social media company’s director of technology and strategy, Vijay Rao.


“Google supports the open Compute Express Link collaboration,” said Rob Sprinkle, technical lead for platforms infrastructure at Google. “Our customers will benefit from the rich ecosystem that CXL will enable for accelerators, memory, and storage technologies.”


Zhang Xiaohua, general manager of Huawei’s intelligent computing business unit, said: “Huawei’s intelligent computing products which incorporate Huawei’s chip, acceleration components and intelligent management together with innovative optimised system design, can deliver end-to-end solutions which significantly improve the rollout and system efficiency of data centres.”

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