HPC-ETC: THE PAST MONTH IN HIGH PERF. COMPUTING

September 29, 2000

by Steven Witucki, assistant editor

CRAY SUPERCOMPUTER PURCHASED ON EBAY

Steve Blank, who founded Ardent Computers and Epiphany and owns a 260-acre ranch on the Northern California coast, won a Cray Research Y-MP C90 supercomputer on eBay with a bid of $45,100.70. The computer was offered by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, which put the C90 up for auction to make room for a new supercomputer. “I’m ecstatic,” Blank said. “In 50 years, people are just going to go, ‘That was the pinnacle of military computing. These machines are going to be as important as the first PC or the first minicomputer.'” Blank said he has not decided what he is going to do with the machine, but one idea he has is to set it up on his ranch, “next to the tractors.” “It could be the only ranch on the coast with a supercomputer,” he said. Regardless of where the machine ends up, Blank said he plans to keep it in working condition. He said he was arranging with Cray and the supercomputing center to ship the machine in a climate-controlled environment.

Michael Schneider, a science writer at the supercomputing center, said the center was “pleased” with the auction result. Before the auction, the center was planning on paying Cray $30,000 to haul the computer away. Instead, as part of the auction, Blank will pick up the tab on the packing and shipping for the C90. “We didn’t know what would happen,” Schneider said. “We’re basically about $75,000 ahead of where would have been if we hadn’t done the eBay thing.”

UIC AND UF WILL CREATE NETWORKED SUPERCOMPUTER

The University of Chicago (UIC) is co-leading a project with the University of Florida (UF) to create GriPhyN (Grid Physics Network), a networked supercomputer that will surpass even Deep Blue with 100 trillion operations per second and gargantuan storage capabilities. GriPhyN’s physicists and IT researchers plan to implement the first petabyte-scale computational environment for data intensive science. A petabyte of storage space is two to the 50th power (1,125,899,906,842,624) bytes. A petabyte is equal to 1,024 terabytes, or about one trillion bytes. This equates to about 100 million times the storage space of a household computer. GriPhyN will deploy computational environments called Petascale Virtual Data Grids (PVDGs) that meet the data-intensive needs of a diverse community of thousands of scientists spread across the globe. “Our virtual data grid infrastructure will allow communities to harness aggregated computer resources to solve data-intensive problems, as well as science and engineering,” Ian Foster said, project co-leader, professor in computer science at the University of Chicago and associate director of the Mathematics and Computer Science division of Argonne National Laboratory. The undertaking is being funded to the tune of $11.9 million by the National Science Foundation (NSF), currently for research and development only. Foster says researchers are seeking an additional $70 million in NSF grants for further research and equipment to build the system. Research and construction likely would take place simultaneously, with a target completion date of 2005.

QUESTIONS ABOUT U.S. SUPERCOMPUTER EXPORTS

The latest available statistics show that 190 U.S. high performance computers, capable of performing 2 billion operations per second (or 2,000 MTOPS) or higher, were exported to China in fiscal year 1998 and are required, by law, to have such on site “end-use” checks. But of those 190 HPCs, Commerce investigators completed a check on only one, according to a recent congressional report. As many as 600 computers above 2,000 MTOPS were shipped by U.S. companies to China between 1996 – when the Clinton administration greatly relaxed export controls on the machines – and the end of 1998. But reports show that as few as three of those were ever checked up on by Commerce. The problem has repeatedly raised concerns in Congress. “Given the lack of a proven and effective verification regime, it is possible that [certain high-performance computers] have been diverted for unauthorized uses,” said a report last spring by a bipartisan congressional committee specially tasked to assess the impact of U.S. exports to China. The committee, led by Rep. Christopher Cox, warned that China could be using U.S. supercomputers to upgrade and maintain nuclear and chemical weapons, better equip its forces with aircraft and submarines, develop a reliable and accurate ballistic and cruise missile force, and improve its computer warfare, anti-submarine warfare and communications capabilities.

China began buying American supercomputers after the Clinton administration significantly loosened export controls on the technology in 1996. Before that, experts say, the country had no high performance computers. Since then, U.S. sales of computers between 2,000 and 7,000 MTOPS to the China have soared. While only 23 were exported in 1996, 123 were allowed in 1997, and as many as 434 were allowed for export during just the first three quarters of 1998. The U.S. government has been negotiating with Beijing for more than 15 years to allow end-use checks on high-tech equipment sold to China. Other countries – such as Israel, Russia and India – by and large have submitted to the checks. But China, which in recent years has bought many more American supercomputers than all other countries combined, has opposed the U.S. government checking up on how those computers are used, citing concern for national sovereignty.

SCIENTISTS USE MOLECULE TO FORM TINIEST TRANSISTOR

A single molecule of carbon sandwiched between gold electrodes has been fashioned into the smallest transistor ever built. The tiny device, made by a team of physicists and chemists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is the latest wonder to emerge from the field known as nanotechnology, in which scientists are busy trying to fashion the working parts of a new generation of electronic devices. Experts say it may someday be possible to incorporate single- molecule switches and tiny wires into unimaginably small supercomputers and “smart” devices. “It’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen in our lifetimes,” said Mike Naughton, a physicist at Boston College who has been trying to coax arrays of elongated carbon wires, called nanotubes, to self-assemble in useful ways.

HP TAKES WRAPS OFF SUPERDOME SERVER

Hewlett-Packard Co. attempted to wrestle Unix server market share away from Sun Microsystems Inc. with new 64-bit boxes. At a press event in New York, HP unveiled Superdome, its most powerful server to date, according to sources. The $1 million-plus system, powered by the company’s 64-bit PA-RISC chips and utilizing HP’s custom-designed flavor of Unix called HP-UX, is designed to compete against Sun’s flagship system, the 64-processor E10000. HP customers will be able to further boost their system power, sources said, by integrating four of the high-end servers together to create a clustered system capable of utilizing up to 256 processors. HP’s previous top-of-the-line server, the HP 9000 V-Class, was scalable up to 128 processors. The Superdome is designed to handle Intel’s upcoming line of 64-bit processors once they become widely available early next year. In three or four years, HP plans to integrate IA-64 processors, which feature an architecture HP helped develop, into all of its servers.

============================================================

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

At SC19: What Is UrgentHPC and Why Is It Needed?

November 14, 2019

The UrgentHPC workshop, taking place Sunday (Nov. 17) at SC19, is focused on using HPC and real-time data for urgent decision making in response to disasters such as wildfires, flooding, health emergencies, and accidents. We chat with organizer Nick Brown, research fellow at EPCC, University of Edinburgh, to learn more. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

China’s Tencent Server Design Will Use AMD Rome

November 13, 2019

Tencent, the Chinese cloud giant, said it would use AMD’s newest Epyc processor in its internally-designed server. The design win adds further momentum to AMD’s bid to erode rival Intel Corp.’s dominance of the glo Read more…

By George Leopold

NCSA Industry Conference Recap – Part 1

November 13, 2019

Industry Program Director Brendan McGinty welcomed guests to the annual National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Industry Conference, October 8-10, on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana (UIUC). One hundred seventy from 40 organizations attended the invitation-only, two-day event. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing components with Intel Xeon, AMD Epyc, IBM Power, and Arm server ch Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel AI Summit: New ‘Keem Bay’ Edge VPU, AI Product Roadmap

November 12, 2019

At its AI Summit today in San Francisco, Intel touted a raft of AI training and inference hardware for deployments ranging from cloud to edge and designed to support organizations at various points of their AI journeys. The company revealed its Movidius Myriad Vision Processing Unit (VPU)... Read more…

By Doug Black

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Help HPC Work Smarter and Accelerate Time to Insight

 

[Attend the IBM LSF & HPC User Group Meeting at SC19 in Denver on November 19]

To recklessly misquote Jane Austen, it is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a company in possession of a highly complex problem must be in want of a massive technical computing cluster. Read more…

SIA Recognizes Robert Dennard with 2019 Noyce Award

November 12, 2019

If you don’t know what Dennard Scaling is, the chances are strong you don’t labor in electronics. Robert Dennard, longtime IBM researcher, inventor of the DRAM and the fellow for whom Dennard Scaling was named, is th Read more…

By John Russell

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel AI Summit: New ‘Keem Bay’ Edge VPU, AI Product Roadmap

November 12, 2019

At its AI Summit today in San Francisco, Intel touted a raft of AI training and inference hardware for deployments ranging from cloud to edge and designed to support organizations at various points of their AI journeys. The company revealed its Movidius Myriad Vision Processing Unit (VPU)... Read more…

By Doug Black

IBM Adds Support for Ion Trap Quantum Technology to Qiskit

November 11, 2019

After years of percolating in the shadow of quantum computing research based on superconducting semiconductors – think IBM, Rigetti, Google, and D-Wave (quant Read more…

By John Russell

Tackling HPC’s Memory and I/O Bottlenecks with On-Node, Non-Volatile RAM

November 8, 2019

On-node, non-volatile memory (NVRAM) is a game-changing technology that can remove many I/O and memory bottlenecks and provide a key enabler for exascale. That’s the conclusion drawn by the scientists and researchers of Europe’s NEXTGenIO project, an initiative funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program to explore this new... Read more…

By Jan Rowell

MLPerf Releases First Inference Benchmark Results; Nvidia Touts its Showing

November 6, 2019

MLPerf.org, the young AI-benchmarking consortium, today issued the first round of results for its inference test suite. Among organizations with submissions wer Read more…

By John Russell

Azure Cloud First with AMD Epyc Rome Processors

November 6, 2019

At Ignite 2019 this week, Microsoft's Azure cloud team and AMD announced an expansion of their partnership that began in 2017 when Azure debuted Epyc-backed instances for storage workloads. The fourth-generation Azure D-series and E-series virtual machines previewed at the Rome launch in August are now generally available. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Launches Credit Card-Sized 21 TOPS Jetson System for Edge Devices

November 6, 2019

Nvidia has launched a new addition to its Jetson product line: a credit card-sized (70x45mm) form factor delivering up to 21 trillion operations/second (TOPS) o Read more…

By Doug Black

In Memoriam: Steve Tuecke, Globus Co-founder

November 4, 2019

HPCwire is deeply saddened to report that Steve Tuecke, longtime scientist at Argonne National Lab and University of Chicago, has passed away at age 52. Tuecke Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Confirms Retreat on Omni-Path

August 1, 2019

Intel Corp.’s plans to make a big splash in the network fabric market for linking HPC and other workloads has apparently belly-flopped. The chipmaker confirmed to us the outlines of an earlier report by the website CRN that it has jettisoned plans for a second-generation version of its Omni-Path interconnect... Read more…

By Staff report

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Rise of NIH’s Biowulf Mirrors the Rise of Computational Biology

July 29, 2019

The story of NIH’s supercomputer Biowulf is fascinating, important, and in many ways representative of the transformation of life sciences and biomedical res Read more…

By John Russell

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cerebras to Supply DOE with Wafer-Scale AI Supercomputing Technology

September 17, 2019

Cerebras Systems, which debuted its wafer-scale AI silicon at Hot Chips last month, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This