Intel is engaged in a pilot program to field test its upcoming Itanium 64-bit processor in working IA-64 systems.
Twelve IA-64 computers are currently in the hands of universities and businesses, such as Wells Fargo Bank, to judge the performance of the next generation systems in real-world scenarios and provide feedback to Intel, according to company spokesperson Christine Chartier.
Intel plans to expand the pilot program to more than 100 companies by the first quarter of next year, Chartier said.
The initial market for Itanuim and IA-64 is expected to be small, according to Intel, as 64-bit computing is applied only to large, computation-intensive applications found in science and global finance.
Itanium represents a radical new chip design for Intel in the 64-bit computing space, and the company during the last year has encouraged application developers and system integrators to develop atop the IA-64 platform.