The Week in Review

By John E. West

July 31, 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

Va Tech building a new Mac cluster;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/25/vt-building-new-mac-cluster/

IBM’s blades in Rackable’s can;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/29/ibms-blades-in-rackables-can/

Tata’s Eka gets efficiency bump to 132.8 TFLOPS;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/28/tatas-eka-supercomputer-now-faster-well-not-really/

NCAR Q&A on how they used CUDA to accelerate WRF;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/28/ncar-plus-cuda-equal-faster-weather-simulation-community-benefits/

HPC appliance company Acceleware not doing well, restructuring;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/28/acceleware-not-doing-well-restructuring/

Purdue works to find SiCortex sweet spot;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/29/finding-sicortexs-sweet-spot/

HP, Intel, and Yahoo announce Cloud Computing Test Bed;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/29/hp-intel-and-yahoo-create-global-cloud-computing-research-test-bed/

Dallas/Fort-Worth HPC users group formed;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/29/dallasfort-worth-hpc-users-group/

Berman urges shift in thinking about cyberinfrastructure;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/31/berman-urges-shift-in-thinking-about-ci/

Bull gets PFLOPS order for French military, atomic authority;
http://insidehpc.com/2008/07/31/bull-gets-pflops-order/

>>SGI lays off 105 workers

Found via Joe Landman’s blog, a post to this article at TradingMarkets.com:

California-based Silicon Graphics Inc. reported it was eliminating more than 100 jobs, about 7 percent of its workforce, in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SGI, which specializes in high-performance computing, closed its datacenter and labs in Mountain View, Calif. on June 17, a move the [sic] cut about 15 jobs. The data processing activities will be absorbed by the company’s manufacturing facility in Chippewa Falls. According to the filing, “the company plans to hire additional personnel in Chippewa Falls to accommodate these activities.”

On July 15, SGI cut about 90 more employees from its worldwide workforce.

SGI has about 1,600 employees, so this isn’t a huge cut, but given the company’s flagging performance since May of ’07, this is another sign of hard times for the company. You can read the details in the summary of SGI’s 21 July SEC filing.

>>WETA quietly building an HPC powerhouse for digital film effects

You know WETA Digital’s work: the New Zealand-based animation company did the special effects for the Lord of the Rings series, among other stuff. As you might imagine, all that rendering takes computers.

HP announced during ISC in Dresden that WETA had installed 100 TFLOPS of rendering capablity in four different clusters that rank 219-222 on the current TOP500 list. If they were ganged together, WETA would rank somewhere in the first 30 of the Top500. While I don’t know for sure why WETA configured the system in this way, a large customer of HP tells me that the company often encourages customers to break systems up in this way when the aggregate system won’t pierce the very top of the list in order to boost the proportion of the TOP500 slots they hold. Interesting.

WETA is using the new ProLiant BL2×220c blade that lets users cram 12 TFLOPS in a rack about which I wrote in detail here. This blade is part of HP’s launch of its new Scalable Computing & Infrastructure group. As I wrote in that article, that group came from two groups within HP:

…the HPC team with which we are all familiar, and HP’s Scalable Datacenter Infrastructure team. The SDI team has spent the last two years out of the public eye at HP, focused exclusively on a small group of large media and internet services companies, like Weta Digital (the team that did special effects for the Lord of the Rings series), Fox Interactive Media, and snapfish.com (HP’s photo sharing site).

And there’s the WETA connection. The HP systems replaced WETA’s previous IBM BladeCenter systems that held ranks 157, 481, 493, and 496 on the June 2006 list. HP’s site has a few articles referencing their WETA Digital work here and here.

The TOP500 site shows that the config of each ranked system is an HP Cluster Platform 3000 BL2×220 with 624 Intel EM64T Xeon L54xx (Harpertown) 2500 MHz (10 GFLOPS) Quad Core processors. I hear from people familiar with WETA’s installation that HP installed a total of 10 racks for these clusters, or 2,560 sockets. Since the TOP500 configuration shows 2,496 sockets in each cluster, this leaves 16 sockets doing front end and I/O activities. A familiar configuration.

Given the amount of work that rendering takes and the demand for WETA’s skills in Hollywood, it’s not hard to imagine an upgrade to the capability that they’ve already installed. Growing the configuration will be challenging, however, given the power and cooling needs of systems at this scale. There is a lower wattage processor in this configuration that could save the company on infrastructure costs.

According to this report at Forbes in June, New Zealand is in a prolonged drought, and with 60 percent of the country’s power coming from hydroelectric plants, power use is a big concern over there. If you’re from the area, can you confirm this?

I’ll watch the next couple lists for you and see how WETA evolves its infrastructure. It should be interesting.

—–

John West is part of the team that summarizes the headlines in HPC news every day at insideHPC.com. You can contact him at [email protected].

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!

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

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) Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft Azure Adds Graphcore’s IPU

November 15, 2019

Graphcore, the U.K. AI chip developer, is expanding collaboration with Microsoft to offer its intelligent processing units on the Azure cloud, making Microsoft the first large public cloud vendor to offer the IPU designe Read more…

By George Leopold

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

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…

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

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 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

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

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

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

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