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October 30, 2008
Here's a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week's HPC news stream as reported at insideHPC.com and HPCwire.
10 words and a linkWill cloud pricing answer the age-old question: is Windows more expensive?
Barron's financial analysis on SGI: "circumstances dire"
It's interesting to me when broader communities peek into our little corner of the world. Today's morsel is a story from Barron's on SGI. It's titled "Don't Be Tempted by SGI," so you probably know where the article is headed (tip to HPCwire for the pointer)
The stock (ticker: SGIC) is down 59% this year, and its valuation -- it trades at less than one-third its trailing sales -- may tempt some investors. But the history of the business shows that sales of big, expensive supercomputers are rarely profitable.
The circumstances now are dire for SGI. It had just $40 million in cash, as of its most recent quarter, and it must begin principal payments on $12.75 million of the Morgan Stanley loan next year. It has incurred an operating cash loss of $65 million over the past four quarters. And on its most recent conference call, its chief financial officer warned of further indebtedness.
Open Education Cup offers prize for best online HPC training
As the HPC industry has continued to grow and gain acceptance in mainstream commercial industry, more people are faced with the perils of efficiently architecting parallel applications. There will always be a series of flagship universities and national laboratories that have the knowledge and means by which to further educate their staff on the Zen of computational sciences. What about those without access to these resources? Enter the Open Education Cup.
"It used to be that the concepts of parallel processing -- of dividing a computing task and running it simultaneously across several processors -- were only important to supercomputing experts," said Jan Odegard, director of Rice University's Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology. "With the introduction of dual-core, quad-core, and soon, many-core chips, as well as the understanding that chips with hundreds of cores will be in your typical PCs within just a few years, parallel processing is suddenly something that everybody needs to be familiar with."
The Open Education Cup is a contest chartered with jump-starting "the creation of freely available, easily understood" classroom materials about parallel computing. Rice University is co-sponsoring the event with $500 cash prizes for the five best lessons submitted to the open-eduction site Connexions.
"Reports have said over and over again that we need more and better high-performance-computing education," said one of the contest's judges, Dan Reed, director of scalable and multicore computing strategy at Microsoft. "Projects like this are a way to build that education from the ground up," said Reed, who is also a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology ( PCAST ) and a co-author of PCAST's 2007 report on the challenges faced by America's information technology industry.
The contest will kick off during the week of the Supercomputing conference in Austin, Texas. I personally believe this is very exciting. So many of us have been musing thoughts on creating education material easily digested by those outside the HPC norms. I tip my hat to those affiliated with the Open Education Cup for taking the bull by the horns. I'm personally looking forward to viewing the course submissions.
Newman on three technologies that will disrupt enterprise storage
Sun's HPC Watercooler points to the latest bit of analysis by Henry Newman pointing to his call for three storage technologies that will be "truly disruptive to the enterprise storage market." Highlights:
Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is my number one pick for a technology that could change enterprise storage in dramatic ways.
...I have been writing about object-based storage for several years now (see Let's Bid Adieu to Block Devices and SCSI), and I am a big proponent of T10 OSD, given the problems I see regularly with fragmentation.
...I am a big proponent of [pNFS], and it has some broad implications (see The Future of NFS Arrives and NFS Enters a Parallel Universe).
Henry's original article is here.
Jun 18, 2013 |
The world's largest supercomputers, like Tianhe-2, are great at traditional, compute-intensive HPC workloads, such as simulating atomic decay or modeling tornados. But data-intensive applications--such as mining big data sets for connections--is a different sort of workload, and runs best on a different sort of computer.
Jun 18, 2013 |
Researchers are finding innovative uses for Gordon, the 285 teraflop supercomputer housed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) that has a unique Flash-based storage system. Since going online, researchers have put the incredibly fast I/O to use on a wide variety of workloads, ranging from chemistry to political science.
Jun 17, 2013 |
The advent of low-power mobile processors and cloud delivery models is changing the economics of computing. But just as an economy car is good at different things than a full size truck, an HPC workload still has certain computing demands that neither the fastest smartphone nor the most elastic cloud cluster can fulfill.
Jun 14, 2013 |
For all the progress we've made in IT over the last 50 years, there's one area of life that has steadfastly eluded the grasp of computers: understanding human language. Now, researchers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) are utilizing a Hadoop cluster on its Longhorn supercomputer to move the state of the art of language processing a little bit further.
Jun 13, 2013 |
Titan, the Cray XK7 at the Oak Ridge National Lab that debuted last fall as the fastest supercomputer in the world with 17.59 petaflops of sustained computing power, will rely on its previous LINPACK test for the upcoming edition of the Top 500 list.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
Join HPCwire Editor Nicole Hemsoth and Dr. David Bader from Georgia Tech as they take center stage on opening night at Atlanta's first Big Data Kick Off Week, filmed in front of a live audience. Nicole and David look at the evolution of HPC, today's big data challenges, discuss real world solutions, and reveal their predictions. Exactly what does the future holds for HPC?
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