Supercomputer maker Cray Inc has concluded a deal to use its Intel’s QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) technology and its chips to create top-end supercomputers. This could start happening as early as 2011, though Cray will continue to use AMD processors in the foreseeable future.

Says Ian Miller, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cray:

“This is not just Cray selecting Intel as a vendor. It is much more of a design relationship, embracing new capabilities we want to bring to market.”

What he meant is that Cray is trying to shift to Intel’s QPI technology for the so-called Cascade system proposed for the DARPA contract it won 18 months ago. Then, Cray secured part of a nearly $500 million award to build a commercial supercomputer under DARPA’s High Productivity Computing Systems program.

The plans submitted at that time detailed plans for a system that leverages AMD’s HyperTransport technology. At the moment though, Cray is seeking approval from DARPA to shift to Intel processors and QPI.

Intel already works with a number of supercomputer makers. Working with Cray will likely increase the visibility of its profile among the top-ranked supercomputers in the world.