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November 19, 2008

Live From the Show Floor: Wednesday

Tiffany Trader (HPC)

John West talks with John Lee, vice president of advanced technology solutions for Appro; Steve Cumings, director of infrastructure for HP’s Scalable Computing and Infrastructure Group; Morgan Littlewood, vice president of Violin Memory; Jim Falgout, chief technologist for Pervasive’s DataRush; and Dave Ellis, director of HPC architecture for LSI, on the SC08 show floor. John also finds a few more unsuspecting conference-goers to participate in our Two-Option Audio Quiz.

John Lee, Vice President of Advanced Technology Solutions for Appro

Yesterday HPCwire got a chance to sit down with John Lee, the vice president of advanced technology solutions for Appro to talk about the company, what they’re showing on the show floor this year, and where Appro is headed. Joining us for the conversation was Graeme Hackland, the IT manager for the Renault F1 team, one of Appro’s big HPC customers. An interesting thing about Formula 1 racing is that nearly everything — from the engine with its 19000 RPM limit to the Bridgestone tires that all the teams use — is the same. So Formula 1 comes down to the driver, who (sadly) cannot be engineered, and aerodynamics. CFD is one of the disciplines that have historically made excellent use of HPC, and Formula 1 racing is one sport where a supercomputer can make the difference between winning and losing. Graeme was there to talk about HPC from a user’s perspective, and to keep his championship 2006 Formula 1 racecar company as it drew visitors like a magnet to Appro’s booth.

Download the audio (MP3).

Steve Cumings, Director of Infrastructure for HP’s Scalable Computing and Infrastructure Group, Gives Tour of HP’s Pod

On Tuesday HPCwire had a chance to do a walking tour of HP’s Pod, one of the IT shipping container solutions that have come on the market in the past year. I was surprised at how interesting this tour was — there is a lot of engineering that goes into cramming a datacenter in to a shipping container, and that plus the fit and finish make HP’s Pod one of the few pieces of datacenter kit that have to be experienced to be fully appreciated. At an equipment density of over 1800 watts per square foot, and the potential of keeping the “cold” aisle at a balmy 90 degrees (fahrenheit, of course!), this container solution can offer a lot of environmentally friendly datacenter capacity. The Pod was outside the show floor in the parking lot of one of the conference hotels, and it was a beautiful afternoon in the American West as Steve Cumings, director of infrastructure for HP’s Scalable Computing and Infrastructure group, walked me through a turn around this fascinating collection of technology.

Download the audio (MP3).

Morgan Littlewood, Vice President of Violin Memory

HPCwire spent some time with Morgan Littlewood, vice president memory appliance maker Violin Memory, talking about their new 2U appliance that scales to 4 TB of flash memory but presents as a disk system to your compute environment. The company has had early wins with database customers, but they are now also growing into customers with an HPC workload, particularly those with applications in biotechnology and pharmaceutical research where users need to rapidly move through very large quantities of data.

Download the audio (MP3).

Jim Falgout, Chief Technologist for Pervasive’s DataRush

Pervasive Software is one of the companies working on the software front of the data intensive computing space, developing a software architecture to support intensive analysis of large data stores. Pervasive’s DataRush product is designed primarily for single address space environments of the kind you’ll find in multi-socket, multicore nodes on today’s hardware. The framework is based on a dataflow model, written in Java, and provides high level primitives that mask the complexity and details of the parallel implementation. HPCwire spent some time on the exhibit floor with Jim Falgout, chief technologist for Pervasive’s DataRush, to find out about the product, how it works, and what it means to use Java in a high performance environment.

Download the audio (MP3).

Dave Ellis, Director of HPC Architecture for LSI

HPCwire spoke to Dave Ellis, director of HPC architecture for storage manufacturer LSI, about the company’s latest storage product and the benefit that LSI’s users get from being connected with the leading edge of HPC.

Download the audio (MP3).

Another Pop Quiz

SGI or Cray? Linux or Windows? GPU or FPGA? Find out what’s lurking in the subconscious of HPC executives, service providers, and maybe even Joe the Plumber as John West accosts random strangers on the show floor at SC08 and subjects them to the bright lights of HPCwire’s Two-Option Audio Quiz. Don’t miss this chance to hear from insiders like Stan Ahalt, Bob Graybill, Tom Quinn, and Bill Feiereisen, and many more.

Download the audio (MP3).

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