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September 8, 2010

Clearing the HPC Cloud Cache

Nicole Hemsoth

In my daily web “travels” over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that there seems to be a building flurry of activity in several different forums and centers of topical discussion relating to research and scientific computing in particular. In addition to a growing number of conferences on clouds for HPC (ISC Cloud, for instance) the conferencing remotely (that is in this great, vast space some call “the internets” ) has been gaining traction.

After spending part of the long Labor Day holiday weekend combing through my news feeds and sources, I decided to share some of the sites I keep stumbling across as I research and follow up on ideas. 

Please do add to the list in the comments section as this is by no means a complete listing; just a select sampling of the wealth of insight that’s out there…

HPCcloud: High Performance and Grid Computing in the Cloud

Blessedly free from hype, hyperbole and any other malign sort of commercial involvement, “HPCcloud is a discussion group for presenting experiences and scenarios by individuals, organization and projects to illustrate how cloud computing can enhance the different types of distributed and high performance computing infrastructures in science and engineering.” While you do need to join the Google group to take part and be counted as one of the just over 200 members and post yourself, the messages that are contained are useful and contain information about upcoming events, problems encountered by HPC researchers, and anecdotes about virtualization of HPC applications. The presentation of ideas is free from “cheerleading” and openly addresses some of the challenges of HPC in the cloud as a concept and in practice, which is always refreshing. You can lurk like I do. No one will know. And I do lurk here often.

The Computation Institute’s HPC Cloud/Grid Section

The CI, which was established over a decade ago as a joint initiative between Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago has a wealth of website resources on its own. More specifically, a nice pick for delving into more specifics about some select current project can be found on the Grid/HPC/Cloud Computing page, which has its own nifty set of links that send you flitting around the web. While it covers only a limited number of current projects, it is a useful way to find interesting links to new insights and research.

GenomeWeb’s Coverage of Computing in the Life Sciences

Back to what I said again about the microniche, life sciences researchers are quickly picking up pieces of the cloud and adapting them to their needs. I’ve found the GenomeWeb, while full of other strange and wonderful items of interest, often has some interesting material about the computational science behind the life science—from cloud computing to specific applications, it’s a good way to read about how this particular research area is making use of innovations in IT infrastructure and solutions. With that said, I know it would be shameful of me to do so, but I really should plug our own Bruce Maches who takes the larger IT issues the life sciences industry faces and boils them down to their essentials from a management and compliance perspective. Is it relevant to everyone? Not really. Are there lessons to be learned from this particular industry segment and its foray into the cloud? Of course.

James Hamilton’s Blog

While it appears that he is gallivanting about in northern Alaska instead of posting this week—in a boat, no less, and while he might not post on a completely regular basis, it’s worth adding James Hamilton’s blog to your feeds. Going back through his catalogue of posts on everything HPC-related is much like reading a book. The writing is clear and concise and the topics he covers are all pressing in one way or another. He also has one of the most interesting bios I have seen in recent years. Seriously. Hamilton works for the Amazon Web Services team and while I try to be objective and not include vendor resources in lists like these, his posts are generally free from any biased discussions of specific solutions or products.

Another notable mention..

The Home of Sir Bill Arnaud

I really like Mr. Arnaud. But I almost left him off this list because he does not write specifically about HPC and cloud on a regular basis. Still, it is always a topic that sits on the horizon of his posts, sometimes in a very visible way, other times not so much. Arnaud is a green IT consultant and dabbler in all things computing, but if you are taking a break for a moment from the heavier resources mentioned here, it’s a nice, thought-provoking layover with a wide range of topics. Also, I should mention that Bill Arnaud is not knighted or anything, but the “sir” does seem appropriate.

And yet more notable mentions:

The DSA Research Group Blog

HPCcommunity.org Blogs

HPC Advisory Council HPC/Cloud Subgroup

Abhishek Tiwari

High Scalability

Dan Reed

Again, this is just a very small sampling of off the cuff suggestions; where do you keep finding yourself when you let the magic of search lead you along?