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October 22, 2009

The Week in Review

by HPCwire Staff

Here is a collection of highlights from this week’s news stream as reported by HPCwire.

Mass. Governor Unveils Plan to Build HPC Center by 2011

Georgia Tech Wins NSF Award for Next-Gen Supercomputing

Francine Berman Wins Ken Kennedy Award

NVIDIA RealityServer Propels 3D Cloud Computing Using GPUs

Appro Deploys Supercomputing Cluster to LLNL

Voltaire, IBM Expand OEM Partnership

DOE Awards $3.3M Contract to DICE Program

UK Science to Benefit from Further Investment in HPC

U of Houston Chooses Bright Cluster Manager

T-Platforms Joins the HPC Advisory Council

RIT Scientists Use Supercomputers to ‘See’ Black Holes

First Asia Top500 List Announced

Quanta and Tilera Partner on Cloud Computing

NSF’s Cyber-Network Expands Across the Northern Hemisphere

IDC Sees Clouds as Stop-Gap Measure

Computerworld covers an IDC report that states that cloud computing is only viable as a stop-gap measure to be used until companies have the time and money to develop in-house computational resources. The IDC survey showed that big companies found that running software-as-a-service was no longer cost-effective past the three-year mark.

“Cloud costs need to come down much further to be a realistic long term option,” said Matthew McCormack, IDC analyst, at the company’s recent Cloud Computing Summit in London. “It could be useful in the short term financially for companies with severe cost overruns.”

“Your datacentre would have to be really poorly run for it to be more expensive than cloud in the long run,” he added.

As cloud costs come down, the situation will likely change, with cloud computing becoming more economically feasible. Still, it’s important to be aware of the main concerns, i.e., vendor lock-in, security issues, service levels (availability) and bandwidth limitations.

Crystals for Supercomputer Storage

The BBC reports on research being done at the University of Edinburgh, which has been studying salt crystals as a way to create computers with massive storage capacity. Dr. Alexander, of the university’s school of chemistry, who developed the technique, said:

“This research builds on a discovery that was made by accident many years ago, when it was found that light can be used to trigger crystal formation. We have refined this technique and now we can create crystals on demand. There is much work to be done before these crystals can be used in practical applications such as optical storage, but we believe they have significant potential.”

The process of creating crystals from a salt solution is difficult to control and historically has been looked at as a near-impossible task. But researchers have overcome this difficulty by using two low-energy lasers focused on the solution, providing exactly the right amount of energy to trigger the chemical process.

The crystals, being 3D structures, would improve upon traditional flat surface storage mediums such as CDs. The development, which could allow users to store a terabyte of data in a space the size of a sugar cube, could be market-ready in 10 years.

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