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
Want to build your own HPC OpenSolaris solution? Here's how:
Students can win cash prizes at the 8th LCI International Conference on High-Performance Clustered Computing: http://www.linuxclustersinstitute.org/conferences/callforsubmissions.html
Rackable announced their own data center in a box:
Mellanox announced new 10 & 20 Gbps IB adapters with 1 us latency:
The “Microsoft Carnegie Mellon Institute for Computational Thinking” was announced this week:
>>Fish and Chips
There was a lot of silicon (and hafnium) news this week. Raytheon announced some details of its reconfigurable MONARCH chip (http://tinyurl.com/yoce6b), developed for the DoD to address the large data volume of sensor systems. The company claims MONARCH outperforms the Intel quad-core Xeon by a factor of 10. More information at http://insidehpc.com/2007/03/26/raytheons-monarch/.
IBM was talking this week about a prototype optical receiver chipset with 160 Gbps throughput, fast enough to download an HD feature film in one second. This work was also funded by DoD and should hit production in “18-30 months.” More at http://biz.yahoo.com/seekingalpha/070326/30637_id.html?.v=1.
Intel released more details on their upcoming processor families, Penryn and the newly announced Nehalem. Penryn is the forthcoming family using 45nm and the new “hi-k” gates that all the kids are talking about that will include six lines of processors. The dual and quad-core desktop processors and a dual core mobile processor are all under the Intel Core processor brand name, and new dual and quad-core server processors under the Intel Xeon processor brand name will also be introduced in this family. Nehalem is set for production in 2008, and will include up to 8 cores, scalable cache, and other features. More from Intel at http://tinyurl.com/34dbfm.
And to round it all out, Sun announced this week it's going to start selling Sparc chips to the world again, instead of keeping them to itself. The new business unit will be headed by Sun's current storage head and former Sparc chief. The Sparc microelectronics group will build upon the company's recent UltraSparc IV+ and Niagara T1 successes and “develop chips for the network, cryptography and high-performance computing markets.”
>>Dell's cloudy day
Dell seems to have been paying attention as it installed some very large HPC systems over the past couple years. It's now trying to build a business out of custom engineering large scale data center solutions for customers.
According to The Register this week “Dell has pledged to craft custom hardware for service providers looking to purchases thousands or tens of thousands of systems. The bespoke design and installation attack breaks with Dell's traditional no fuss, no muss model and has the company looking a lot more like services fiends such as IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems.”
The Dell Cloud Computing Solution is seen as a direct attack on Rackable's business with the likes of M$oft, Amazon, and Yahoo!. There's not much info out there yet, but you can read more at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/28/dell_cloud/, and http://tinyurl.com/2dzkfx.
>>IBM's cool discovery
Reader Jay Blair pointed us to a discovery by IBM of a way to etch micrometer-length trenches in the copper cap that sits above the CPU core to improve chip cooling. The trenches, in varying sizes, allow for the thermal paste (used to attach a chip's heatspreader) to be evenly distributed at points where it would normally pile up. This even distribution leads to a doubling of the cooling capabilities of a chip's heatspreader, and the spreader is easier to get on. More at Ars Technica at http://tinyurl.com/2nahe2.
John West summarizes the headlines in HPC every day at insideHPC.com, and writes on leadership and career issues for technology professionals at InfoWorld and on his own blog at onlytraitofaleader.com. You can contact him at [email protected].