[Beowulf] FTC and Intel

Håkon Bugge h-bugge at online.no
Mon Dec 21 01:05:08 PST 2009


On Dec 19, 2009, at 22:20 , Peter St. John wrote:

> Haakon,
> What I saw (in a recent Slashdot, which I ought to be able to find)  
> was the idea that an Intel compiler disables it's own highest levels  
> of optimizations if it detects that the host processor is not Intel.  
> The complaint is based on that I believe.
> FWIW, I imagine that if an automobile engine detected poor octane in  
> the fuel, it might throttle down the maximum speed of the car; but  
> if it did so after detecting a competitor's brand of gasoline, it  
> could be considered anti-competitive. But of course IMNAL or however  
> we announce we ain't lawyers so CGS (cum grano salis).
> Peter

Intel's compiler generates code that will not run on AMD CPUs (i.e.  
non GenuineIntel) if an instruction-set higher than SSE2 is selected.  
This issue is covered by the referenced complaints elsewhere. I know  
this issue pretty well, as I wrote a piece of software used by Scali/ 
Platform MPI which reverted the Intel compiler's check for  
GenuineIntel, which transparently allowed MPI programs to run on AMD  
CPUs with SSE3/SSSE3 instruction set enabled.

Claim 20 in the complaints is not related to this, but  
_interoperability_ between GPUs and Intel CPUs. That is what I tried  
to get a better understanding of. I have received insightful comments  
around this issue off-list.

Thanks anyway, Håkon

> On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 3:33 AM, Håkon Bugge <h-bugge at online.no>  
> wrote:
> In http://www.ftc.gov/os/adjpro/d9341/091216intelcmpt.pdf, there are  
> allegations against Intel, such as "20. Intel’s efforts to deny  
> interoperability between competitors’ (e.g., Nvidia, AMD, and Via)
> GPUs and Intel’s newest CPUs".
> I was unaware of this. Anyone know what kind of interoperability we  
> are talking about here?
> Håkon
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Håkon Bugge
h-bugge at online.no
+47 924 84 514

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