The Week in Review

By John E. West

August 6, 2009

Here is 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

Bull reports first six months, posts profit

NAS Parallel Benchmark results comparing Amazon’s EC2 and NCSA’s supercomputer

UK university installs 74TF iDataPlex

Intel releases Threading Building Blocks update

Intel buys CilkArts, will incorporate Cilk++ technology

XtreemOS offers training event

Fighting fires with HPC

Energy efficiency improvements in HPC

HP flogging Tesla GPUs in scientific workstations

Cluster Resources changes its name and adds to its focus

AMD releases OpenCL development kit beta for x86 CPUs

NERSC awards contract for 1PF super to Cray

Cray posts profit in Q2

Cray reported its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, and I imagine that there’s corks a-popping at Cray’s headquarters. They’ve reported a quarterly profit for the first time since Q3’08.

Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2009. Revenue for the quarter was $62.7 million compared to $46.7 million in the prior year period, an increase of 34 percent. The company reported net income for the quarter of $3.4 million or $0.10 per share compared to a net loss of ($6.4 million) or ($0.20) per share in the second quarter of 2008.

Total gross profit margin for the second quarter of 2009 was 45 percent compared to 33 percent in the second quarter of 2008. Product margin was 47 percent, driven by product mix and favorable costs on large system upgrades and contract closeouts. Service margin was 42 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

Cray has had strong financials lately, buying back all of its outstanding debt at a discount during the financial crisis, buying back underwater options from employees, and generally keeping its house in order. The news on the company’s year to date is also generally positive with revenue up considerably and net losses down considerably:

For the six-month period ended June 30, 2009, Cray reported total revenue of $137.2 million compared to $72.9 million in the prior year period, an 88% increase. For the first half of the year, total operating expenses were $45.4 million compared to $44.0 million in the prior year period. Net loss was ($1.5 million) or ($0.04) per share for the first half of 2009 compared to a net loss of ($18.4 million) or ($0.57) per share in the prior year period. The 2009 year-to-date net income results include $3.4 million of stock compensation and $1.7 million of non-cash items related to the new accounting for our convertible notes.

The company is cautiously optimistic about its potential to be profitable for the year:

Based on the above current revenue, margin and expense assumptions, a modest income from operations for 2009 is likely.

Although Cray is working hard to diversify the revenue base, its income is still strongly driven by acquisitions of high-end machines. It would only take schedule slips on a couple of key acquisitions — and customer slips are completely out of Cray’s control — to turn the year from “modest income” to net loss.

Oak Ridge plans upgrade for Jaguar to Istanbul and 2 petaflops

Here is news from Cray that Oak Ridge National Lab has signed a deal to upgrade the world’s second largest computer, the mammoth Jaguar system, by swapping out the current quadcore Opterons for the six-core version by the end of 2009, bringing the total peak capability of that machine to 2 PF and nearly a quarter of a million cores.

The contract to upgrade the Jaguar system will increase the number of the Cray XT5 supercomputer’s processing cores to more than 224,000. The upgrade is expected to be installed and accepted by the end of 2009.

“What makes this upgrade to Jaguar truly exciting for us is the realization that the scientists and engineers using Jaguar will now have a faster and more powerful tool on their hands for achieving important scientific breakthroughs,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. “The Cray XT5 system at Oak Ridge remains the first and only supercomputer in the world to run real-world, scientific applications at over a sustained petaflops, and we are very proud of this groundbreaking achievement. When the upgrade is complete, this performance level will increase and the scientific community will benefit — that is what matters most to us.”

If this happens on schedule — and if Cray didn’t bend over backwards to get this business on terms that are disadvantageous to the business — it will likely play a big part in determining whether they will be profitable this year and meet their projections.

Intel stops shipping SSDs following discovery of data loss

EnterpriseStorageForum.com reported on Monday that Intel has stopped shipping its new solid state storage devices, which have been on the market for less than a month. The latest crop of flash-based SSDs have been the subject of a lot of discussion in HPC, but not too much implementation.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has halted shipments of its new X25-M and X18-M solid state drives (SSDs) after discovering a problem that could cause data corruption. The new drives were the result of a joint venture with Micron Technology (NYSE: MU) and used a new 34 nanometer manufacturing process that was supposed to offer more storage density at a lower cost.

…Intel found that if a user sets up a BIOS password on the SSD, then disables or changes the password, the contents of the drive become corrupted and irretrievably lost.

Intel has a fix and is working to implement it, at which time it will presumably begin shipping again. Not a good start for this relatively new class of device (not SSDs, but flash-based SSDs), though it is heartening that this problem seems to be entirely implementation-dependent, not having anything to do with the flash-storage technology itself.

—–

John West is part of the team that summarizes the headlines in HPC news every day at insideHPC.com. You can contact him at john@insidehpc.com.

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!

US Exascale Computing Update with Paul Messina

December 8, 2016

Around the world, efforts are ramping up to cross the next major computing threshold with machines that are 50-100x more performant than today’s fastest number crunchers.  Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Dec. 8, 2016)

December 8, 2016

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

Qualcomm Targets Intel Datacenter Dominance with 10nm ARM-based Server Chip

December 8, 2016

Claiming no less than a reshaping of the future of Intel-dominated datacenter computing, Qualcomm Technologies, the market leader in smartphone chips, announced the forthcoming availability of what it says is the world’s first 10nm processor for servers, based on ARM Holding’s chip designs. Read more…

By Doug Black

Which Schools Produce the Top Coders in the World?

December 8, 2016

Ever wonder which universities worldwide produce the best coders? The answers may surprise you, at least as judged by the results of a competition posted yesterday on the HackerRank blog. Read more…

By John Russell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. The pilots, supported in part by DOE exascale funding, not only seek to do good by advancing cancer research and therapy but also to advance deep learning capabilities and infrastructure with an eye towards eventual use on exascale machines. Read more…

By John Russell

DDN Enables 50TB/Day Trans-Pacific Data Transfer for Yahoo Japan

December 6, 2016

Transferring data from one data center to another in search of lower regional energy costs isn’t a new concept, but Yahoo Japan is putting the idea into transcontinental effect with a system that transfers 50TB of data a day from Japan to the U.S., where electricity costs a quarter of the rates in Japan. Read more…

By Doug Black

Infographic Highlights Career of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

December 5, 2016

Dr. Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an early pioneer of computer science and one of the most famous women achievers in a field dominated by men. Read more…

By Staff

Ganthier, Turkel on the Dell EMC Road Ahead

December 5, 2016

Who is Dell EMC and why should you care? Glad you asked is Jim Ganthier’s quick response. Ganthier is SVP for validated solutions and high performance computing for the new (even bigger) technology giant Dell EMC following Dell’s acquisition of EMC in September. In this case, says Ganthier, the blending of the two companies is a 1+1 = 5 proposition. Not bad math if you can pull it off. Read more…

By John Russell

US Exascale Computing Update with Paul Messina

December 8, 2016

Around the world, efforts are ramping up to cross the next major computing threshold with machines that are 50-100x more performant than today’s fastest number crunchers.  Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. The pilots, supported in part by DOE exascale funding, not only seek to do good by advancing cancer research and therapy but also to advance deep learning capabilities and infrastructure with an eye towards eventual use on exascale machines. Read more…

By John Russell

Ganthier, Turkel on the Dell EMC Road Ahead

December 5, 2016

Who is Dell EMC and why should you care? Glad you asked is Jim Ganthier’s quick response. Ganthier is SVP for validated solutions and high performance computing for the new (even bigger) technology giant Dell EMC following Dell’s acquisition of EMC in September. In this case, says Ganthier, the blending of the two companies is a 1+1 = 5 proposition. Not bad math if you can pull it off. Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Launches Massive 100 Petabyte ‘Sneakernet’

December 1, 2016

Amazon Web Services now offers a way to move data into its cloud by the truckload. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

Seagate-led SAGE Project Delivers Update on Exascale Goals

November 29, 2016

Roughly a year and a half after its launch, the SAGE exascale storage project led by Seagate has delivered a substantive interim report – Data Storage for Extreme Scale. Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE-SGI to Tackle Exascale and Enterprise Targets

November 22, 2016

At first blush, and maybe second blush too, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) purchase of SGI seems like an unambiguous win-win. SGI’s advanced shared memory technology, its popular UV product line (Hanna), deep vertical market expertise, and services-led go-to-market capability all give HPE a leg up in its drive to remake itself. Bear in mind HPE came into existence just a year ago with the split of Hewlett-Packard. The computer landscape, including HPC, is shifting with still unclear consequences. One wonders who’s next on the deal block following Dell’s recent merger with EMC. Read more…

By John Russell

Why 2016 Is the Most Important Year in HPC in Over Two Decades

August 23, 2016

In 1994, two NASA employees connected 16 commodity workstations together using a standard Ethernet LAN and installed open-source message passing software that allowed their number-crunching scientific application to run on the whole “cluster” of machines as if it were a single entity. Read more…

By Vincent Natoli, Stone Ridge Technology

IBM Advances Against x86 with Power9

August 30, 2016

After offering OpenPower Summit attendees a limited preview in April, IBM is unveiling further details of its next-gen CPU, Power9, which the tech mainstay is counting on to regain market share ceded to rival Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Beats Azure to K80 General Availability

September 30, 2016

Amazon Web Services has seeded its cloud with Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs to meet the growing demand for accelerated computing across an increasingly-diverse range of workloads. The P2 instance family is a welcome addition for compute- and data-focused users who were growing frustrated with the performance limitations of Amazon's G2 instances, which are backed by three-year-old Nvidia GRID K520 graphics cards. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Think Fast – Is Neuromorphic Computing Set to Leap Forward?

August 15, 2016

Steadily advancing neuromorphic computing technology has created high expectations for this fundamentally different approach to computing. Read more…

By John Russell

The Exascale Computing Project Awards $39.8M to 22 Projects

September 7, 2016

The Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) hit an important milestone today with the announcement of its first round of funding, moving the nation closer to its goal of reaching capable exascale computing by 2023. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ARM Unveils Scalable Vector Extension for HPC at Hot Chips

August 22, 2016

ARM and Fujitsu today announced a scalable vector extension (SVE) to the ARMv8-A architecture intended to enhance ARM capabilities in HPC workloads. Fujitsu is the lead silicon partner in the effort (so far) and will use ARM with SVE technology in its post K computer, Japan’s next flagship supercomputer planned for the 2020 timeframe. This is an important incremental step for ARM, which seeks to push more aggressively into mainstream and HPC server markets. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Debuts Power8 Chip with NVLink and Three New Systems

September 8, 2016

Not long after revealing more details about its next-gen Power9 chip due in 2017, IBM today rolled out three new Power8-based Linux servers and a new version of its Power8 chip featuring Nvidia’s NVLink interconnect. Read more…

By John Russell

Vectors: How the Old Became New Again in Supercomputing

September 26, 2016

Vector instructions, once a powerful performance innovation of supercomputing in the 1970s and 1980s became an obsolete technology in the 1990s. But like the mythical phoenix bird, vector instructions have arisen from the ashes. Here is the history of a technology that went from new to old then back to new. Read more…

By Lynd Stringer

Leading Solution Providers

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Silicon Photonics Chip, Previews Next-Gen Phi for AI

August 18, 2016

At the Intel Developer Forum, held in San Francisco this week, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager Diane Bryant announced the launch of Intel's Silicon Photonics product line and teased a brand-new Phi product, codenamed "Knights Mill," aimed at machine learning workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell EMC Engineers Strategy to Democratize HPC

September 29, 2016

The freshly minted Dell EMC division of Dell Technologies is on a mission to take HPC mainstream with a strategy that hinges on engineered solutions, beginning with a focus on three industry verticals: manufacturing, research and life sciences. "Unlike traditional HPC where everybody bought parts, assembled parts and ran the workloads and did iterative engineering, we want folks to focus on time to innovation and let us worry about the infrastructure," said Jim Ganthier, senior vice president, validated solutions organization at Dell EMC Converged Platforms Solution Division. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Beyond von Neumann, Neuromorphic Computing Steadily Advances

March 21, 2016

Neuromorphic computing – brain inspired computing – has long been a tantalizing goal. The human brain does with around 20 watts what supercomputers do with megawatts. And power consumption isn’t the only difference. Fundamentally, brains ‘think differently’ than the von Neumann architecture-based computers. While neuromorphic computing progress has been intriguing, it has still not proven very practical. Read more…

By John Russell

Container App ‘Singularity’ Eases Scientific Computing

October 20, 2016

HPC container platform Singularity is just six months out from its 1.0 release but already is making inroads across the HPC research landscape. It's in use at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where Singularity founder Gregory Kurtzer has worked in the High Performance Computing Services (HPCS) group for 16 years. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Micron, Intel Prepare to Launch 3D XPoint Memory

August 16, 2016

Micron Technology used last week’s Flash Memory Summit to roll out its new line of 3D XPoint memory technology jointly developed with Intel while demonstrating the technology in solid-state drives. Micron claimed its Quantx line delivers PCI Express (PCIe) SSD performance with read latencies at less than 10 microseconds and writes at less than 20 microseconds. Read more…

By George Leopold

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This