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November 2, 2007

The Week in Review

HPCwire Staff

Our normal week-in-reviewer, John West, is engaged in some much-needed R&R at an undisclosed location, also known as Disney World. In his stead, the HPCwire staff gathered some of the highlights of the week.

>>10 words and a link

Playstation3 enables Folding@home to be recognized by Guinness World Records;

DEISA announces 45 projects awarded 30 million hours computing time;

Intel launches seven new Itanium processors;

Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing gets commemorated;

Avetec’s DICE program funds OSU study of wide area InfiniBand;

Made in China: 100 teraflop supercomputer;

Supermicro unveils dual-port 10GbE solutions;

Fred van den Bosch Named as New Evergrid CEO;

>>Platform Gets the Business

On Monday, Platform Computing announced it had bought Scali Manage, an integrated cluster management and monitoring system. The company adds the Scali Manage product to the rest of their middleware portfolio, including Platform LSF, Orchestrator, Symphony, and their Open Cluster Stack. According to Platform, their goal is to be “the partner of choice for HPC infrastructure software worldwide.” The acquisition slices off half of Scali’s product line, leaving it with MPI Connect.

From the announcement:

“The sale of Scali Manage allows Scali to focus on our ongoing commitments to deliver the highest performing MPI product line in the industry,” said Jack Kay, CEO, Scali Inc. “This deal is a win-win for both companies.”

As of Thursday, Jack Kay is no longer the CEO. Átila Mellilo, who led Scali’s engineering division, has been promoted to CEO. Kay stays on as the chairman of the board. Things are churning at Scali.

This week’s feature article in HPCwire delves deeper into the Scali Manage acquisition.

>>NERSC Crowns a New Leader

Kathy Yelick, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Berkeley and an internationally recognized expert in developing methods to advance the use of supercomputers, has been named director of the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). Yelick is the fourth permanent director since NERSC was established in 1974, and the first woman director at the lab. Taking over from Horst Simon, who stepped down at the end of 2006, Yelick offers impeccable credentials.

From the NERSC announcement:

Her current work has shown that global address space languages like UPC and Titanium offer serious opportunities in both productivity and performance, and that these languages can be ubiquitous on parallel machines without excessive investments in compiler technology. … She is involved in an NCR study investigating the impact of the multicore revolution across computing domains, and was a co-author of a Berkeley study on this subject known as the “Berkeley View.” Yelick speaks extensively on her research, with over 15 invited talks and keynote speeches over the past three years.

“After working on projects aimed at making HPC systems easier to use, I’m looking forward to helping NERSC’s scientific users make the most effective use of our resources,” Yelick said. “NERSC has a strong track record in providing critical computing support for a number of scientific breakthroughs and building on those successes makes this an exciting opportunity.”

Best of luck Kathy.

>>Tokyo Tech Cranks it Up

The Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) has purchased additional ClearSpeed Advance boards to accelerate its TSUBAME supercomputer. The system currently sits at number 29 on the TOP500 list at 48 teraflops. The original installation included 360 ClearSpeed Advance boards, which populated about half of TSUBAME’s 648 Sun x4600 servers, and provided an additional 9 teraflops of performance (and increased energy use by only about 1 percent). With this new purchase, they’ll have one ClearSpeed Advance board per server, and will presumably do another Linpack run.

From the ClearSpeed announcement:

“We are pleased to work with our partner, ClearSpeed, to provide our expertise and support our local University by adding to its already strong reputation of being one of the top academic institutions in the world,” said Masahiko Someya, general manager, Nissho Electronics. “By adding extra ClearSpeed acceleration we hope to see TSUBAME remain as the top supercomputer in Asia for years to come.”

Tokyo Tech is already planning TSUBAME 2.0 for the 2010 timeframe. That system is expected to reach 2 petaflops. To read more about the history and plans for TSUBAME, download this PDF file.

>>Argonne Goes for Half a Petaflop

Argonne National Laboratory announced completion of a contract to purchase an additional 32 racks of IBM’s new Blue Gene/P for the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) – this on top of the 9 racks they originally announced in May. The resulting machine will achieve 556 teraflops. No timeframe was given for the final deployment.

From the Argonne announcement:

“By the time this project is complete, Argonne will be home to one of our country’s preeminent computing facilities,” said Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director of Computing and Life Sciences at Argonne. “We look forward to housing this strategic facility and to the research advances and scientific progress it will generate.”

The really good news is that both the government and commercial organizations will get a crack at the new machine. Most of ALCF’s available computing time will be allocated by DOE’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. This program looks for cutting-edge research projects from industry, academia and research organizations that can make use of elite systems like Blue Gene/P.

>>Cray Super Gets the Thumbs-Up

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Cray announced the completion of the acceptance test of one of the world’s largest supercomputers. Installed at the DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), the new Cray XT4 system was announced in August 2006 with a pricetag of $52 million (including services). The system has a top processing speed of more than 100 teraflops. It will be named “Franklin” in honor of the first internationally recognized American scientist, Benjamin Franklin.

From the announcement:

“With Franklin, we are increasing the computational power available to our 2,900 NERSC users by a factor of six, providing them with access to one of the world’s fastest supercomputers dedicated to open scientific research,” said Michael Strayer, associate director of DOE’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, which funds NERSC. “We have high expectations that NERSC’s proven track record of scientific productivity will provide many new discoveries and understandings.”

The machine contains 9,672 AMD dual-core Opteron 2.6 GHz processors with 39 terabytes of memory. Researchers with early access to the machine are already making good use of its capabilities.