UD’S PRESIDENT TOUTS IBM PROJECT, DEFENDS PUBLIC GRIDS

By By Derrick Harris, Editor

November 15, 2004

Special Section — World Community Grid

UD'S PRESIDENT TOUTS IBM PROJECT, DEFENDS PUBLIC GRIDS
By Derrick Harris, Editor

GRIDtoday editor Derrick Harris was able to speak with United Devices president Ed Hubbard about his company's role in developing the World Community Grid, among other topics, including Grid's evolution since [email protected], and why skeptics need not worry about the security of public Grids.


GRIDtoday: To start with, I am wondering why IBM selected United Devices to power the World Community Grid.

To start with, I am wondering why IBM selected United Devices to power the World Community Grid.

ED HUBBARD: Well, I think IBM looked around at the available options. There's a few key ingredients to build one of these Grids. One is, “can it scale?” because they want to build a large Grid. We've used our infrastructure for the last four years to run a public Grid of our own, which resides at Grid.org, and that's about 3 million nodes today, so they were pretty pleased with the scalability picture. Of course, we built the thing so that it used DB2, which was also a huge plus for IBM — they love seeing their database used.

Well, I think IBM looked around at the available options. There's a few key ingredients to build one of these Grids. One is, “can it scale?” because they want to build a large Grid. We've used our infrastructure for the last four years to run a public Grid of our own, which resides at Grid.org, and that's about 3 million nodes today, so they were pretty pleased with the scalability picture. Of course, we built the thing so that it used DB2, which was also a huge plus for IBM — they love seeing their database used.

So, scalability was one, security was another. There's a lot of … distributed computing platforms out there, like [email protected], SETI and a bunch of others, but those guys, while they're pretty secure, they didn't really spend as much time as we did on the security model. That was another thing that IBM reviewed very carefully, I think, and they liked what they saw.

I think the third point, and I would encourage you to talk to IBM about this, I think one of key ingredients was also the fact that our infrastructure can be used, and has been used, that's how we make our money, in corporations. The same infrastructure that runs on the public Grid is the same infrastructure (software) that we sell to companies around the world. Using a commercial product like this on the public Grid, especially when it can be used inside of companies, I think was a big plus.

Gt: Alright. Now, am I correct in my belief that Grid.org and World Community Grid will be working as one throughout the duration of the Human Proteome Folding Project, and then are going to be working on separate projects afterward?

HUBBARD: That's exactly right. They will be working together on this first project of IBM's while IBM gets its Grid up and running, and then the World Community Grid will be a standalone entity that IBM controls and runs, and someday may turn into a real non-profit altogether. Grid.org will continue to be ours and we'll run it separately and do other projects on it.

That's exactly right. They will be working together on this first project of IBM's while IBM gets its Grid up and running, and then the World Community Grid will be a standalone entity that IBM controls and runs, and someday may turn into a real non-profit altogether. Grid.org will continue to be ours and we'll run it separately and do other projects on it.

Gt: What is your forecast for the success of the World Community Grid, in particular this first project that you're a part of, based on your successes in the past with Grid.org's projects:

HUBBARD: Well, I think IBM will be very successful. Whenever a large company like this gets behind one of these projects, you get a lot of focus and a lot of people want to join. That's basically why we built Grid.org. We've run three other projects out there in the past: one around cancer, one around anthrax toxin, and one around looking for an anti-viral for smallpox. We've worked with Oxford University in all those cases, but the critical piece of those projects was getting sponsorship from large technology companies, like IBM, Intel and Microsoft had all been involved in the past.

These things take on a life of their own, and before you know it you have millions of machines out there. It's an interesting responsibility you have to keep those machines fed with something the user base likes to see.

Gt: You mentioned [email protected] before, how do you think the public Grid concept has evolved from the launch of [email protected] to the current World Community Grid launch?

HUBBARD: Well, I think there's couple of key differences and evolutionary points. One is that the [email protected] guys, and all the other @home folks, were really: one, they were rolling their own infrastructure; and two, they were really focused on their particular project. So downloading [email protected], for instance, meant that you were just going to run an analysis program for radio telescope data, and that's it.

When you download an infrastructure like ours on Grid.org or IBM's at World Community Grid, it's a general purpose platform that can run multiple projects simultaneously. IBM has already said publicly that they want to run other projects, even while the folding project is going on they may bring other projects online and run them on the same infrastructure, and let users have a choice in what they run, which is always key. I think that's been one big difference between the [email protected] model and this evolving model.

It's really interesting, it's sort of like the old operating systems. When you bought a word processing system, it had an OS, and it was a word processor, and that's all it did. Then came the current of innovation of, “Hey, listen the operating system and the applications can be separate, and I can run lots of different applications on top of one operating system.” That became a pretty standard way to think about applications and operating systems, and I think the analogy is a pretty good one here, as well.

Gt: Keeping along that same line, a Columbus, Ohio, man was fired last month for running [email protected] on his work computer, and I was wondering what you might say to skeptics, like the man's employer, perhaps, who are concerned about security or performance issues stemming from running Grid software on a PC?

HUBBARD: Well, just like IBM has done, and we've done in the past, we always encourage people to only run it on machines that they have authorization to run it on. Sometimes people don't really think about that before they install software. This software is no different than installing any other software that they might come across on the Internet — some other screensaver or, remember in the old Pointcast days when people would download that and get in trouble. There's really no difference here, it just happens to be a phenomenon that is pretty widespread.

Do I think that the people who own those machines are being rational? No, I don't. I think it's pretty irrational to fire someone for running one of these projects because, in general, they're very secure. They're only reporting results back to a single server out there, and you know exactly who wrote the software. It's either some folks at a university or, in our case, it's United Devices' and IBM's corporate logo on the line, basically, and they don't mess around with their logo. They will not put their brand in jeopardy. So, I think it's irrational and over time, with any new technology there's resistance and misunderstanding, and then over time it becomes much more widely accepted and understood and nobody's afraid of it anymore, but it still happens from time to time.

Gt: The World Community Grid is just one of a whole rash of Grid projects that have been announced, a lot of states are running statewide Grids, for example, and I was wondering what you see in the future for large-scale public Grids, and how much the general public stands to benefit from the technology?

HUBBARD: Well, a few answers come to mind. One, I think we've been running this kind of model at Grid.org for the last three and a half/four years, and [email protected] has been around for a long time, but this is the first time that a really large, leading technology company has come out and said, “This is something that's important and we're going to be involved. Not in just a sponsorship, but we want to run one of these. We think it's going to make a difference to our company and to the researchers involved with the projects we run.” So, this is the first sort of major stamp of approval endorsement, if you will, from a large technology company like this, which I find fascinating. That's just on the public side, it has nothing to do with the private Grids.

We have probably 50 customers around the world that have set up and run private Grids on our technology, but they don't get the notoriety or the attention that these public ones do by definition.

Where does this go after this? I think it is interesting to see these states start to think about putting their own Grids together. For us, we're just in the business of helping people build Grids, whether they're behind the firewall or on the public IP network like this, so we're quite happy to help anybody who wants to build a Grid, just like IBM. We have had some folks from various states around the country contact us today because they saw this happen, and they said, “You know what, we've been thinking about doing something like this in our state and we want to talk to you.” I think that only happens when you get an endorsement like this from IBM.

Gt: The Grid has been getting a lot of press from the announcement today and I was wondering, although you kind of answered this already, how does this attention affect United Devices in regard to gaining customers for your products, enterprise Grids specifically?

HUBBARD: It's just a fantastic endorsement for us. This is one of those that you dream about when you start a company … “Maybe, someday, IBM take the technology and do something interesting with it, and then that opens the floodgates.” We've done well on our own, but I think this will change things a little bit for us.

Gt: Well, Ed, that's all the questions I have. Is there anything else you would like to add in regard to this project or United Devices in general?

HUBBARD: Outside of United Devices, we think this is a really interesting project from a scientific perspective. The Human Genome Project was really important and it got us the formula for being a human being, but it didn't really tell us how to bake the cake, or how the cake is baked. This project is going to attempt to go through the human genome, as well as a lot of other genotypes, and figure out what makes these things tick from a protein standpoint. It's going to be amazing to see the results of this when they come out. ISB (Institute for Systems Biology) is going to make the database of protein structures public so everybody in the world will be able to get access to these. Basically, were going to take the whole industry from knowing perhaps 30 percent of the proteins in the human being, and a lot of other organisms, to, in the next year, having at least a software-based prediction of what all the proteins are in everything we run on this, which is going to be a lot of different organisms.

So, from all of recorded history to yesterday, we know just 30 percent of the proteins in a human, and over the next 12 months we're going to get the other 70 percent of the proteins, plus a whole bunch of other organisms, completely run through as far as protein structure predictions go. We're just going to have this massive data that all of a sudden, just in a course of 12 months, there's just going to be an explosion of knowledge in what makes everybody tick. I think it's just incredible.

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!

Top500: US Maintains Performance Lead; Arm Tops Green500

November 18, 2019

The 54th Top500, revealed today at SC19, is a familiar list: the U.S. Summit (ORNL) and Sierra (LLNL) machines, offering 148.6 and 94.6 petaflops respectively, remain in first and second place. The only new entrants Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ScaleMatrix and Nvidia Launch ‘Deploy Anywhere’ DGX HPC and AI in a Controlled Enclosure

November 18, 2019

HPC and AI in a phone booth: ScaleMatrix and Nvidia announced today at the SC19 conference in Denver a joint offering that puts up to 13 petaflops of Nvidia DGX-1 compute power in an air conditioned, water-cooled ScaleMa Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE and NREL Collaborate on AI Ops to Accelerate Exascale Efficiency and Resilience

November 18, 2019

The ever-expanding complexity of high-performance computing continues to elevate the concerns posed by massive energy consumption and increasing points of failure. Now, the AI Ops collaboration between Hewlett Packard En Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale computer. Intel also provided a glimpse of Read more…

By John Russell

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutting for the Expo Hall opening is Monday at 6:45pm, with the Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Data Management – The Key to a Successful AI Project

 

Five characteristics of an awesome AI data infrastructure

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

AI is powered by data

While neural networks seem to get all the glory, data is the unsung hero of AI projects – data lies at the heart of everything from model training to tuning to selection to validation. Read more…

SC19’s HPC Impact Showcase Chair: AI + HPC a ‘Speed Train’

November 16, 2019

This year’s chair of the HPC Impact Showcase at the SC19 conference in Denver is Lori Diachin, who has spent her career at the spearhead of HPC. Currently deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Project (ECP), Diachin is also... Read more…

By Doug Black

Top500: US Maintains Performance Lead; Arm Tops Green500

November 18, 2019

The 54th Top500, revealed today at SC19, is a familiar list: the U.S. Summit (ORNL) and Sierra (LLNL) machines, offering 148.6 and 94.6 petaflops respective Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ScaleMatrix and Nvidia Launch ‘Deploy Anywhere’ DGX HPC and AI in a Controlled Enclosure

November 18, 2019

HPC and AI in a phone booth: ScaleMatrix and Nvidia announced today at the SC19 conference in Denver a joint offering that puts up to 13 petaflops of Nvidia DGX Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19’s HPC Impact Showcase Chair: AI + HPC a ‘Speed Train’

November 16, 2019

This year’s chair of the HPC Impact Showcase at the SC19 conference in Denver is Lori Diachin, who has spent her career at the spearhead of HPC. Currently deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Project (ECP), Diachin is also... Read more…

By Doug Black

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

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

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

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

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