Intel holds interoperability 'PlugFest'

New 64-bit Itanium chip faces a five-day session of compatibility testing

Microprocessor manufacturer Intel is to boost industry readiness for its forthcoming 64-bit Itanium chip with a 'PlugFest' of compatibility testing, the corporation said Monday.

Between 5 and 9 June, more than 100 hardware and software vendors will meet at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Oregon in order to test for compatibility problems with their products.

64-bit computing offers enhanced performance because it allows data to be processed in 64-bit rather than 32-bit pieces. Intel has, however, designed its Itanium processor to utilise a new instruction set called Epic, Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing, which needs new techniques to operate efficiently. This means that software companies need to at least translate applications in order for them to work with with the new chip, and substantial alterations may be needed to take advantage of the potential speed increase.

AMD says its 64-bit microprocessor, code-named Sledgehammer, will deliver 64-bit performance on legacy x86 software when it launches next year. For this reason Intel is particularly keen to increase industry adoption of Itanium.

Intel plans to hold another interoperability PlugFest on September 11 where telecommunications and networking companies will be invited to test their technology.

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