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September 2, 2010

The Week in Review

Tiffany Trader

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

The ‘New’ SGI Releases First Year Financial Results

FieldView and CFD Support Red Bull Racing in Tight Race to Formula 1 Titles

C-to-FPGA Integration Accelerates Prototyping 10X

Universities Across the Country Deploy New Dell HPC Solutions

Supercomputing Brings the Climate Picture into Focus

IBM Adds 4-Socket Opteron 6000 Server

Swedish Research Institute to Upgrade Cray Supercomputer

Council on Competitiveness Promotes HPC to Energize Manufacturing

NSF Funds LONI Extension

Carnegie Mellon’s Wing to Address President’s Sci-Tech Panel

Rensselaer Taps James Myers to Head HPC Center for Nanotech Research

University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute Selects SGI Altix UV 1000

TACC to Deploy New 300 Teraflop Supercomputer

AMAX Unleashes New ClusterMax HPC Series at VMworld 2010

Voltaire Offers Expertise on Improving Advanced Trading

NSF Awards NCSA $200,000 for Simulation-Based Engineering and Science

Future Internet Architecture Program Gets NSF Backing

Last Friday, the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) granted awards to four new projects as part of the Future Internet Architecture (FIA) program. Each program is to receive funding worth up to $8 million over three years.

The current Internet is insufficient to sustain our increasingly data-driven culture. FIA seeks to build a more reliable and robust Internet that can meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century with all the social, economic and legal issues that encompasses.

Commenting on the announcement is Ty Znati, director of the Computer and Network Systems Division within CISE:

“As our reliance on a secure and highly dependable information technology infrastructure continues to increase, it is no longer clear that emerging and future needs of our society can be met by the current trajectory of incremental changes to the current Internet. Thus our call to the research community to propose new Internet architectures that hold promise for the future.”

The FIA program will include the design, prototyping and evaluation of different aspects of network architectures, drawing on the leadership of computer science and electrical engineering professionals as well as experts from the fields of law, economics, security, privacy, and public policy. The funding will support 60 researchers at more than 30 institutions.

There are four basic research and system design projects, each with a specific focus and vision, involved in the Future Internet Architecture program. Here is a quick rundown on each of them.

The Named Data Networking project seeks to enhance the trustworthiness of the next-generation Internet. According to a press release from partner institution the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “NDN capitalizes on strengths and addresses weaknesses of the Internet’s current host-based, point-to-point communication architecture in order to naturally accommodate emerging patterns of communication not well supported by today’s Internet.” Researchers from UCLA, University of Illinois and and other institutions received $7.9 million in funding. The Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), based at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, will also be collaborating on the project.

The MobilityFirst project proposes an architecture centered on mobility as the norm, rather than the exception. The Rutgers-led research team with members from nine universities received $7.5 million of FIA funding to develop a mobile Internet — one that connects billions of mobile communications and computing devices reliably and securely.

The NEBULA project is working to develop a network architecture, Nebula, in which cloud computing datacenters are the primary repositories of data and the primary location of the computation. The team of network researchers from the University of Pennsylvania working with other institutions has been awarded $7.5 million in FIA funding and will collaborate with industrial researchers from Cisco Systems Inc.

The eXpressive Internet Architecture (XIA) project is led by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who have received $7.1 million to develop a next-generation network architecture that fixes security and reliability deficiencies now threatening the viability of the Internet.

It’s Official: HP to Acquire 3PAR

Phew…the bidding war is over. Dell backed down. And HP stepped up…to the tune of 2.4 billion dollars at $33 per share in cash. What more is there to say except TGIO (thank god it’s over).

For a good overview of 3PAR’s (coveted) technology and for some insight into what exactly has made the company such a hot commodity, check out Editor Nicole Hemsoth’s article at HPCwire’s sister pub, HPC in the Cloud.

Here’s what 3PAR’s vice president of marketing, Craig Nunes, had to say when Nicole broached the subject of competition:

The category of virtualized storage is smaller than the market has to offer today and the list gets rather short when you start thinking about virtualized storage arrays. Think about a lot of the arrays now like the Clarian, the NetApp array, the HP array — all of those traditional dual controller arrays, they’ve been around since the 90s and were built for that dedicated Unix or Windows Server world and now they’re trying to be repurposed in this virtualized datacenter but they really don’t bring the attributes that people are looking for in terms of virtualization and efficiency.

So the list is pretty short in terms of newer-generation virtualized array architectures and 3PAR is the only game in town in terms of a virtualized storage array that stretches from the mid-range to the high-end. The high-end of our product line runs stock exchanges and banks and there are really no alternatives for virtualized storage outside of 3PAR in that regard. The same software, the same UI from top to bottom — we’ve done a good job of scaling our product offering to Tier 1 to Tier 2 and so on.

Just a note for anyone who was trying to do the merger math, multiplying price per share times the number of shares, to come up with the total bid amount. I tried that (62.59 million shares at $33 per share) and kept getting an amount that was less than that listed as the enterprise value in the press releases (a little over $2 billion versus the listed $2.4 billion). Turns out, and perhaps I’m the only one who didn’t know this, that the enterprise value (EV) is a bit more involved than simply multiplying the share price times the number of shares. According to our friend Wikipedia, EV is the “sum of claims of all the security-holders: debtholders, preferred shareholders, minority shareholders, common equity holders, and others.” If you multiply the share price times the number of shares, what you get is a measure of Market capitalization (aka market cap), which only includes equity. Ah well, I never claimed to have an MBA.

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