From TeraGrid to Clouds

By Michael Schneider

June 19, 2008

The TeraGrid, the National Science Foundation’s evolving program of cyberinfrastructure for U.S. science and education, held its third annual conference June 9-13 in Las Vegas. Observing three years of TeraGrid full-production operation, TG08 opened with a presentation from Dan Reed, one of the people most instrumental in TeraGrid’s 2001 genesis as NSF’s flagship cyberinfrastructure.Click for full size photo
After founding and directing the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina, Reed moved to Microsoft, where he is Scalable and Multicore Computing Strategist. Before RENCI, he was director of NCSA in Illinois. There, building on the PACI Alliance notion of a distributed grid of shared resources, he helped to develop the TeraGrid vision. The idea, Reed reminded his audience of about 350 researchers, educators and TeraGrid staff, was “to begin escaping the tyranny of data captured at single supercomputing sites.”

After looking back to TeraGrid’s origins, Reed focused on the future. “What can we learn from the TeraGrid experience, technically and politically? Where is the technology going and what are the research implications?” He referred to a recent special issue of Nature that explores the state of science in 2020, noting that science in the 21st century is inextricable from computing.

Quoting from the study, “From sequencing genomes to monitoring the Earth’s climate, many recent scientific advances would not have been possible without a parallel increase in computing power — and with revolutionary technologies such as the quantum computer edging towards reality, what will the relationship between computing and science bring us over the next 15 years?”
 
As befitted the Las Vegas setting, Reed asked his audience to ponder risk versus reward. “What probability of successful return would you accept to be the first human to set foot on Mars?” Twenty years ago, he noted, grids were research curiosities and a terabyte was many disks of data. “The future depends on vision and context.”

The context has radically changed from not that long ago, he noted, in that bulk computing has become almost free relative to software and power. “Nowadays you can buy a lot of computing on your credit card. We still don’t have terabit transcontinental networks for research use; moving lots of data is still hard. The big cost is people. The cost of a professional software developer for a year is now more than a teraflop computing cluster.”

Today’s context, says Reed, is a Five-Fold Way comprising 1) many-core on-chip parallelism, 2) big “really big” datacenters, 3) web services, 4) ubiquitous sensors (producing huge data volumes), and 5) “clouds” as an evolving model of computational service. Today, further increases in computer performance require embracing multicore parallelism; hardware progress has outstripped progress in software to exploit it.

An important goal, Reed emphasized, is context-aware information. Referring to Vannevar Bush’s vision of a national research enterprise, which led eventually to the National Science Foundation, Reed called for services, including datacenters, and the concept of cloud computing that has the ability to put the right information in the right heads at the right time.Click for full size photo
Data models, noted Reed, are in rapid flux because of larger and larger data volumes. This is especially pronounced in some fields, such as biomedical research, where large databases are subject to distributed analysis. A big challenge, probably underappreciated, says Reed, is the scale of the data deluge. “We will be running queries on 100,000 servers,” said Reed. “And research is moving from being hypothesis driven (“I have an idea, let me verify it.”) to exploratory (“What correlations can I glean from everyone’s data?”). This kind of exploratory analysis will rely on tools for deep data-mining.” Massive, multi-disciplinary data, said Reed, is rising rapidly and at unprecedented scale.

In discussing next-generation applications and cyberinfrastructure investment, Reed noted that the historical model of “punctuated competitions” is not optimal in that it tends to stress a culture of competition among research centers over long-term collaboration. Research and infrastructure, he noted, mix badly since “it takes a long time to identify appropriate practices and software.” Sustainability really matters because software and organizations take time.

Grids and clouds, says Reed, will tend to fuse with time. The rapid growth in the size and capability of commercial computing clouds, as exemplified by work underway at Microsoft, is driven by economics. Reliable, centrally hosted infrastructure provides commercially-based services. While grids are more tailored for academic agendas, economic factors will tend to bring these two related service models together in a fusion that is more than the sum of its parts.

Returning to the ratio of risk and reward as he concluded, Reed stressed the need to ask big questions. In Reed’s view, there are basically three: 1) biology, understanding of life and nature, 2) the universe, how matter came to be and cosmic structure, and 3) the human condition, where biology and the universe intersect in the sphere of human creativity and social life. Answering the big questions requires boldness and interdisciplinary partnerships. With the three-fold way of science — theory, simulation and experiment — now proven, says Reed, “Great things are ahead. We are positioned to do amazing things.”

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!

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). On 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. Read more…

By Doug Black

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

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

Leveraging Exaflops Performance to Remediate Nuclear Waste

November 12, 2019

Nuclear waste storage sites are a subject of intense controversy and debate; nobody wants the radioactive remnants in their backyard. Now, a collaboration between Berkeley Lab, Pacific Northwest National University (PNNL Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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

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. Th 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 ins 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

Spending Spree: Hyperscalers Bought $57B of IT in 2018, $10B+ by Google – But Is Cloud on Horizon?

October 31, 2019

Hyperscalers are the masters of the IT universe, gravitational centers of increasing pull in the emerging age of data-driven compute and AI.  In the high-stake Read more…

By Doug Black

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

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated mo 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

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