The daddy of supercomputer manufacturers, Cray, has confirmed that it is exploring "alternative processor design points", before adding "the potential use of 64 bit ARM technologies" as well as "other power and performance efficient processing technologies for its supercomputer, and data analytics systems."
Cray's decision has been motivated by the fact that the company has been awarded a research and development contact with the United States Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration as part of a program called FastForward 2.
Cavium, which has just unveiled a 48-core ThunderX ARM processor, has been enlisted as a partner by Cray as it explores how these energy-efficient cores can be combined into Cray clusters.
Interestingly, Cray's CTO also mentioned low-power Intel processors in his statement, potentially referring to Bay Trail-based or even low-powered Quark chips.
Cray won the contract to provide UK's MET office with a supercomputer worth £97 million, one that used IBM's Power processors, chips that usually have a very high transistor count and generally quite big and costly.