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2012 Supercomputing Conference

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Top 10 Hits and Misses for 2012

In the world of high performance computing, a lot of the important news this year revolved around heterogeneous computing, big data, and HPC interconnects. Two vendors that perhaps embodied those technologies more so than others were Cray and Intel, both of which figured prominently in some of the biggest HPC stories in 2012. Here are HPCwire’s highlights and lowlights for the year.

2012 Annual HPCwire Readers Choice Awards

Feature Articles from SC12

Blue Waters Opts Out of TOP500

(11/16/2012) – NCSA’s Blue Waters system is one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, but it won’t be appearing on the TOP500 list, nor will it be taking part in the HPC Challenge awards. HPCwire spoke with Project Director Bill Kramer to get the full story on this important decision.
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Michio Kaku Sketches Technological Wonderland of the Future at SC12

(11/16/2012) – Imagine a world where a computer chip costs just a penny. They could be embedded anywhere and everywhere. Celebrity physicist Michio Kaku talked about the implications of this and much more in his much-anticipated keynote address at Supercomputing 2012 (SC12) this week in Salt Lake City, where he discussed the huge role that high performance computing will play in the year 2100.
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The Six Personalities of Supercomputing

(11/16/2012) – In a part serious, part provocative style, here is a light-hearted look at the different personality stereotypes involved in high performance computing. This is by no means an exclusive list, but it does illustrate the range of people who contribute to the flavor of the world of supercomputing.
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PLX Looks to Bring PCIe Fabric to Market

(11/14/2012) – PLX Technology, a maker of PCIe switches and bridges, has been spreading the word about using PCIe as a general-purpose HPC interconnect. At SC12 this week, the company went a little further down that path, unveiling their upcoming Express Fabric technology. We asked Vijay Meduri, executive vice president of engineering at PLX to talk about the rationale of using PCIe as an interconnect fabric.
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E4 Computer Engineering Unveils New ARM-GPU Clusters

(11/13/2012) – This week at SC12, Italian cluster maker E4 Computer Engineering, launched a new series heterogeneous clusters, which pair an NVIDIA’s ARM+GPU Tegra3 with a discrete Quadro GPU. We asked E4′s Simone Tinti, who leads the HPC team at E4, to describe the new systems and talk about the advantage they offer to high performance computing users.
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Microsoft Outfits Azure Cloud for Big Compute

(11/13/2012) – Microsoft has unveiled a set of “big compute” capabilities for its Windows Azure offering. The company is courting the HPC space with more powerful hardware, new instance configurations, and the updated Microsoft HPC Pack 2012.
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Intel Brings Manycore x86 to Market with Knights Corner

(11/12/2012) – Intel Corp. officially made its entry into the manycore realm today as it debuted “Knights Corner,” the company’s first Xeon Phi coprocessor. The new products clock in at just over a teraflop, double precision, setting the stage for an HPC accelerator battle that will pit Intel against GPU makers NVIDIA and AMD. Both of those companies also released their latest HPC accelerators into the wild earlier today at the annual Supercomputing Conference in Salt Lake City.
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Titan Knocks Off Sequoia as Top Supercomputer

(11/12/2012) – In the battle of the DOE labs, Oak Ridge Lab’s Titan supercomputer has taken the title from the former TOP500 champ, Lawrence Livermore’s Sequoia. The GPU-charged Titan, using the new NVIDIA K20X-equipped XK7 blades from Cray, delivered 17.6 petaflops to Sequoia’s 16.3 petaflops on Linpack, the sole metric for TOP500 rankings.
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NVIDIA Unveils 1.3 Teraflop GPU for Supercomputing

(11/12/2012) – The battle of teraflop accelerators began today as NVIDIA launched a new family of supercomputing GPUs based on the Kepler architecture. The Tesla K20 and the K20X represent the company’s latest and greatest and are intended to keep NVIDIA’s successful HPC accelerator franchise out in front of the competition. The chipmaker announced the new hardware as the 2012 Supercomputing Conference, in Salt Lake City, got underway.
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AMD Hatches FLOP-Monster GPU Card

(11/12/2012) – AMD is launching its most powerful graphics card yet: the dual-GPU FirePro S10000 promises 5.91 teraflops of peak single precision and 1.48 teraflops of peak double precision floating point performance. And with AMD’s “Graphics Core Next” (GCN) architecture under the hood, the S10000 can deliver compute and graphics processing simultaneously.
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Cray to Buy Appro for $25 Million

(11/09/2012) – Supercomputer-maker Cray has announced it intends to buy Appro International, a privately held HPC cluster vendor. Cray is paying about $25 million for Appro, and will get at least $3.5 million in working capital from the cluster-maker. News of the deal boosted Cray’s stock price, which jumped 10 percent on Friday.
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An SC12 Party for the Rest of Us

(11/09/2012) – The celebration surrounding the opening of the Supercomputing Conference traditionally kicks off with Gala Opening on Monday evening. But those in the know leave the convention center and head to the biggest open HPC community party of the year: the Beowulf Bash. HPC guru and Beowulf pioneer Thomas Sterling talks about what makes this particular event so special.
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Supercomputing Conference Offers Up Smorgasbord of HPC Sessions

(11/09/2012) – The epic supercomputing event of the year, SC12, will be booting up next week in Salt Lake City, Utah, attracting HPC digerati, vendors, press, and analysts from around the world. And even though the DOE won’t be there in full force this year, big crowds are still expected. This year’s event should deliver plenty of fodder for those looking to keep up on the latest and greatest in the field.
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Sequoia Supercomputer Pumps Up Heart Research

(10/24/2012) – The world’s fastest computer has created the fastest computer simulation of the human heart. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Sequoia supercomputer, a TOP500 chart topper, was built to handle top secret nuclear weapons simulations, but before it goes behind the classified curtain, it is generating sophisticated cardiac simulations.
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US Government Starts Bailing on SC12

(08/30/2012) – The upcoming Super-computing Conference (SC12) may not turn out to be the blow-out high performance computing hullabaloo it normally is. The recent GSA scandal involving overzealous spending at one of their conferences a couple of years ago has precipitated new federal policy that is forcing government labs to abandon their exhibits and cutback attendance at the world’s largest supercomputing event.
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Special Commentary from SC12


Podcast: Recap from Supercomputing Conference
Addison and Michael review some of the more newsworthy announcements that took place last week at SC12.Read more…


Podcast: AMD Troubles; SC12 Winners and Losers
AMD is rumored to be looking for a buyer. And, as SC12 wraps up, Addison and Michael suggest some of the big winners and losers from the conference.Read more…


Podcast: Accelerator Triple Play; TOP500 Results
Addison and Michael discuss the trio of HPC accelerators announced on Monday, and review the latest TOP500 list.Read more…


Podcast: Cray CEO Explains Appro Buy
Peter Ungaro lays out the strategy of Cray’s acquisition of Appro.Read more…


Podcast: Cray Shakes Up Supercomputing Biz; A Look Ahead to SC12
Cray launches Cascade line of supercomputers, then buys Appro for good measure. Also, an SC12 gets ready to roll.Read more…


Podcast: Feds Suck the Energy Out of SC12; Intel Has Open MIC Day at Hot Chips
The DOE and some other US federal agencies are looking to shrink their presence at SC12. And Intel reveals more details about its upcoming Knights Corner processor.Read more…

Off the Wire from SC12