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November 13, 2008

The Week in Review

by John E. West

Here’s a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week’s HPC news stream as reported at and HPCwire.

10 words and a link

Cover your nakedness with a free insideHPC shirt

SiCortex proposes new green computing index for HPC

The Green Grid announces advisory council, new membership level

Intel announces new versions of HPC developer tools

DDT integrates with Intel Message Checker for MPI goodness

Former Intel employee charged with stealing $1B of trade secrets

Bletchley Park on restoration path

NVIDIA reports Q3, profits drop by 74%

NVIDIA announces 4GB Quadro high-end graphics card

CUDA Expert day at SC08

Photo article on Cardiff’s new supercomputer

OpenSolaris SPEC Results

LSI/SGI deliver 1.8 PB to Sandia for Red Storm

NEC and HLRS collaborate on hybrid super

HPC Advisory Council sponsors community cluster

Visual Numerics releases v7 of IMSL Lib

Terascala demos pNFS storage solution at SC08

Sun’s new Storage 7000 appliance and 30 PB of tape

AMD Shanghai on track

AMD’s latest quad-core, high-end silicon is now shipping. Codenamed “Shanghai,” the 45nm silicon is actually ahead of schedule! Industry insiders say the integrators have been hurriedly sucking down current production runs, but AMD did not formally announce the Opteron revision until today.

This positive launch attitude of AMD is a huge departure from the recent Barcelona follies. The Shanghai silicon is said to beat the Barcelona performance by up to 35%. Hopefully, with no TLB bugs.

“I can see the AMD percentage of our sales increasing dramatically with Shanghai,” said Philip Pokorny, chief hardware architect for Penguin Computing (Fremont, Calif.) an integrator focused on the HPC market. “Before Barcelona our business was 70 percent AMD processors and 30 percent Intel, but there was a reversal and now I am hoping we get to parity,” he said, speaking at a panel of integrators gathered here by AMD.

Appro’s, John Lee also had this to say:

“We were heavily skewed to AMD processors in 75 percent of our business since 2004, but [with AMD’s Barcelona slip] Intel has made some recent inroads,” said John Lee, vice president of advanced technology solutions at Appro International Inc. (Milpitas, Calif.), an integrator with customers including top supercomputing labs. “Our users are testing Shanghai now and seeing significant performance increases, and Shanghai will be everywhere from general purpose workstations to supercomputing solutions,” he added.

Good for AMD! Competition in this market is a good thing. For more info on Shangai, read the full article at EETimes.

ORNL’s Jaguar shatters petaflop barrier

Oak Ridge National Lab has just announced that Jaguar, its Cray XT supercomputer, has broken the petaflop barrier. After recent upgrades and enhancements, the system has achieved a 1.6 petaflops peak performance mark. It has also sustained performance of up to 1.3 petaflops. This sustained number falls just short of RoadRunner’s 1.375 petaflop peak, number one on the Top500.

“Jaguar is one of science’s newest and most formidable tools for advancement in science and engineering,” said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, DOE’s Under Secretary for Science. “It will enable researchers to simulate physical processes on a scale never seen before, and approach convergence for dynamical processes never thought possible. High end computation will become the critical third pillar for scientific discovery, along with experiment and theory.”

The project leading up to Jaguar’s impressive numbers began in 2004 when the DOE’s Office of Science launched an effort to perform major upgrades to unclassified compute capability within the labs. I would certainly say they hit their mark with this one.

“With the expansion of the leadership computing resources at Oak Ridge, the Department of Energy is continuing to deliver state-of-the-art computational platforms for open, high-impact scientific research,” said Michael Strayer, Associate Director of the DOE Office of Science for Advanced Scientific Computing Research. “The new petaflops machine will make it possible to address some of the most challenging scientific problems in areas such as climate modeling, renewable energy, materials science, fusion and combustion.”

Very cool! Congrats to the Cray/ORNL team that spent long hours in rolling in the upgraded cabinets. For more info on the achievement, read the full release here.

The debutante’s ball: Convey Computer’s launch at SC08

Now this is what SC can be when it’s at its best:

Convey Computer Corporation will officially launch the company November 17 at SC08 with the introduction of its line of new servers. These servers will bring power, performance and application “personalities” to high-performance computing (HPC) environments and turn industry-standard x86 clusters into high achieving, yet energy efficient computing machines.

Brought to the industry by the executive and design teams that built Convex Computer Corporation, Convey shatters the HPC industry’s power, performance and programmability barriers in an elegant and efficient way.

Convey received $15.1 million in venture funding in 2007 from investors CenterPoint Ventures, Intel Capital, InterWest Partners, Rho Ventures and Xilinx.

Convey is Steve Wallach’s new adventure. There are a few more details in the press release, but you’ll have to show up at booth 1753 to find out more.


John West is part of the team that summarizes the headlines in HPC news every day at You can contact him at

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