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September 11, 2008

The Week in Review

John E. West

Here’s a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week’s HPC news stream as reported at and HPCwire.

>>10 words and a link

TotalView releases ReplayEngine, TiVo for code;

Michael Dell to keynote SC’08 in Austin;

Liquid Computing announces support for Windows Hyper-V;

Using clouds to supply grids, point and counterpoint;

NCSA Blue Waters documentary on the Big 10 network;

NSF clears design phase for NCAR in Wyoming;

Bulgaria’s National Supercomputer Center get BlueGene;

New version of datacenter air flow modeling app CoolSim;

IBM labs talking about storage innovation;

Stretch turns 50;

Picking an MPI for Windows HPC Server 2008 and C++;

>>Obama responds to Science Debate 2008 questions

Melissa Norr, writing at the excellent CRA Policy Blog, notes that Obama has responded to the fourteen questions posed by Science Debate 2008, and draws out two responses of interest to the computing community.

In case you aren’t familiar (I wasn’t), Science Debate 2008 is a grassroots organization formed to bring science and innovation dialogue back into the American political conversation. They quickly gained some pretty big fans:

Within weeks, more than 38,000 scientists, engineers, and other concerned Americans signed on, including nearly every major American science organization, dozens of Nobel laureates, elected officials and business leaders, and the presidents of over 100 major American universities.

I was interested to note that the word ‘computer,’ and its variants, do not appear anywhere in the text of the candidate’s response. Not even once.

Melissa’s post is here, and the full response is here.

>>New supercomputer prevents energy cut

Here’s an interesting angle, reported by, on a supercomputer deployment. Recall that the UK’s Met office is spending about $65M US with IBM to put in a new super. The Met Office is now reporting that they will not meet their power reduction targets because of the new acquisition:

The Met Office’s plans to reduce its energy consumption will be hindered by the testing of its new supercomputer whilst its current one is still in operation.

In the Met Office’s annual report, the weather information service said it will not be able to reduce energy consumption during the new supercomputer’s testing period in 2008/09. The report said they will still look for other ways to reduce energy consumption.

A refreshing reminder amidst the flurry of green talk of the resources required to power actual installations with real mission requirements. More at the Web site.

>> HPC Beating the Credit Crunch

According to market analysts at IDC, the high performance computing market has defied the recent credit crunch in the US. This, due in part to the popularity of HPC in the public sector. Factory revenue and unit shipments for the HPC tech server market grew by 10 percent in the Q2 2008. Revenues also rose by 10 percent compared to Q1 2008 to $2.5 billion.

Earl Joseph, IDC programme vice president for HPC, said: “Powered by their price/performance advantage, clusters now dominate all segments of HPC market. … IDC projects that the HPC server market will grow at a compounded annual rate (CAGR) of 9.2 per cent to reach $15.6bn in 2012. Continued strong growth of the HPC market is being driven primarily by clusters and newer processor technologies.”

The report concluded that government and university buyers have longer-term budget cycles that are not immediately impacted by economic slowdowns. It also suggested that many organizations are still investing in R&D in order to improve their competitiveness in the current economic climate.

For more info on the report, read the full article here.


John West is part of the team that summarizes the headlines in HPC news every day at You can contact him at