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December 04, 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 link
First OpenSolaris system debuts in slot 221 on the Top500
InformationWeek highlights Convey Computer as “startup of the week”
Scalable Informatics intros new low cost storage appliance
Good summary of LLNL’s Hyperion testbed in GCN
New IBM collaboratory in Dublin to apply HPC to business
Transactional memory pros and cons from ACM Queue
The Register’s detailed recap of Patterson’s SC08 talk
insideHPC salutes SC’s 20 year vets
UCAR releases next version of VAPOR
Portland Group announces PGI 8.0 compilers
Audi installs new HP cluster
Sun HPC Consortium presentations online
The science of victory
The CRA Policy blog points to an outstanding video highlighting the importance of funding science and technology at the federal level released in conjunction with the Army Science conference this week in Orlando, Fla. Early on in the video we hear from some old guys who were funded by our government at various times in their careers, telling us that everyone thought they were crazy. Later we learn that they received Nobel prizes for work on such fundamental technologies as LASERs. Brilliant.
Honestly, this video is so good that it's hard to believe it was created, or even commissioned, by the government. The bottom line is that because we humans have very short memories and fundamental discoveries take a long time, science does not stand on its own. It needs advocacy, and advocates. This kind of video is science's ideal advocate.
Broadening industrial use of HPC
Computerworld ran an article on Friday that hits some of the high points in the efforts of universities to broaden industrial access to supercomputers:
But there's a problem in getting HPC capabilities into the hands of companies that create jobs. Thousands of businesses could conceivably make use of the systems, but many can't afford them -- leaving HPC's economic potential largely unrealized....That has prompted some universities and academic institutions to launch programs under which they provide companies with access to high-performance systems as well as technical help.
Interesting fact: IDC puts the amount of money (public and private) in HPC at $10B last year, but:
To provide some perspective, consider this: since September, the U.S. government has spent $150 billion to keep insurer American International Group Inc. afloat. Meanwhile, HPC resources are inaccessible to many companies that could benefit from using the technology.
When you say it like that, $10B does seem like a small amount of money.
Highlighted in the article are Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) partnership with the Edison Welding Institute (EWI), the Indiana/Purdue effort to make HPC available to Indiana businesses, and the LSU/Electronic Arts partnership:
The role that HPC technology can play in developing new economic opportunities was illustrated in August, when Louisiana State University and the Louisiana government announced an agreement to open a quality assurance center with Electronic Arts Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of computer games and other interactive entertainment software. The announcement followed the development of a digital media academic program that includes increased research in visualization on HPC systems.
The article also mentions Rice's parallel programming education effort, which I think is the cat's boots:
The university is trying to make training in parallel programming as affordable and accessible as possible. As part of that effort, Rice is developing books that can be downloaded online, partly through a competition that challenges people to write about various parallel computing topics. A number of companies are backing the contest, including Chevron Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Nvidia Corp. “These firms really need to have good people to help them do scientific computing,” Koelbel said.
Dang, wish I'd thought of that as an insideHPC effort. But Chuck probably has better access to infrastructure and, you know, money than I do. I could probably scrape together $2.34 in change from the couch in the insideHPC.com world headquarters.
The article is interesting and well written for a general IT piece about HPC. I recommend a read, especially if you aren't already aware of these important programs.
Carr on Mathematica's HPC integration
We pointed to this back in early November when it was announced. Nick Carr's article provides a few more details on the specifics of how the integration between Mathematica and Amazon's compute resources happens:
The workflow is very simple to understand and it takes very few clicks to deploy your code in the cloud. A typical Mathematica user develops code in their standard notebook interface, a programming concept that defines their input code and output results, including graphics. The user specifies input cells, output cells and other parameters. Mathematica will evaluate one input cell at a time so evaluation could take a lot of time to process on one machine. Now, with the new Cloud service, users can evaluate the entire notebook in one shot by pushing it to the cloud.
The HPC Cloud Service lets users take the entire notebook, click a few buttons in the HPC Cloud Service GUI and ask it to run it in the cloud. The HPC Cloud Service evaluates the code, runs it in parallel Mathematica sessions, bundles up the results and notifies the user. In other words, a user can test the code (a Mathematica Notebook) with a small amount of input and then increase size of the input to a more realistic size, push it to the cloud so it runs on hundreds and even thousands of nodes in parallel, and get notified when its done.
Many research labs have been building software like this for the past few years as one offs, and I've even been part of an effort to create a toolset to do this for the HPC assets run by the DOD's HPC Modernization Program (it's now deployed enterprise-wide within the program). But all of these efforts have very limited scope. Carr is right to point out that this is a real step for the democratization of HPC out of the sandbox of the small community of federal researchers doing it previously.-----
Jun 19, 2013 |
Supercomputer architectures have evolved considerably over the last 20 years, particularly in the number of processors that are linked together. One aspect of HPC architecture that hasn't changed is the MPI programming model.
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.
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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