Intel and the China Academy of Sciences have completed the compiler - a key piece of software - for Intel's Itanium processor for mainframe computer networks. After nine months of research, following seven more years of other collaboration, Intel and the state-run academy said they had finished a software package called the 'IA-64 open-source compiler suite'. The compiler makes best use of the chip's speed and security functions by translating programming languages such as C and Fortran into machine code which the chip can process. Itanium, a brainchild of Intel and Hewlett-Packard that came out last year, is intended for the computer systems of Internet service providers, Web content providers and large enterprises that manage lots of data. Intel principal software engineer Jesse Fang said it chose the academy over six other research institutes, including some United States universities, because of its history of helping firms such as Hitachi and Motorola develop similar software. Li Guojie, director of the academy's Institute of Computing Technology, said about 25 full-time workers, rather than students, conducted Intel's research and development (R&D) which was a new challenge for the company: 'It's not like developing application software. It's high level. What was important was how to improve performance.' Intel officials declined to say how much the R&D cost or how many Itanium chips were on the market now, though one said Beijing-based Legend Computer might install them. Intel lab director Colin Evans said Itanium was an 'open standard', meaning other firms, institutes or individuals might be able to adapt the technology to their products. Intel, the world's biggest chip-maker with 80,000 employees and US$26.5 billion in revenues last year, has been in China since 1985. It has 25 per cent of the world's compiler market and its main competitor is Sun Microsystems.