December 3, 2009

The Week in Review

by HPCwire Staff

Here is a collection of highlights from this week’s news stream as reported by HPCwire.

Cray Launches Exascale Research Initiative in Europe

Intel Labs Demos 48-Core Processor

AMD, SiSoftware Collaborate on an Industry Benchmark Suite for OpenCL

New Software to Simulate Future Financial Crises

UK’s MONSooN Supercomputer Begins Working

McGowan Institute Receives IBM Shared University Research Award

Altera’s Stratix IV FPGAs to Power XtremeData Appliance

NASA Ames Selects Verari/Cisco Containerized Datacenter Solution

ANSYS Releases Ansoft Designer with Nexxim 5.0

ISC’10: Final Countdown for Call for Papers

Glasgow Scientists Guide Future Nanochip Design

EigenForge Announces the CFD Virtual Facility

CD-adapco Uses Bright Cluster Manager to Run Its In-House Clusters

CERN’s LHC Sets New World Record

RealityServer Serves Up 3D Web

There is news at NVIDIA’s blog that the company’s latest RealityServer offering, which was announced at the Web 2.0 conference back in October, is now shipping. RealityServer 3.0 is a new cloud computing platform for running 3D Web applications. It allows a user to stream interactive 3D apps to any Web-connected device — even to a smart phone.

Here are some more details from the blog:

RealityServer software utilizes mental images iray technology, the world’s first physically correct, ray-tracing renderer. Because ray tracing is one of the most demanding computational problems, iray technology is designed to take advantage of the massively parallel CUDA architecture of NVIDIA GPUs.

While photorealistic imagery has traditionally taken hours or days to create, RealityServer streams images of photorealistic scenes at rates approaching an interactive gaming experience.

This means that car designers can now share and visualize complex 3D models of cars under different lighting and environmental conditions or architects can review sophisticated architectural models, rendered in different daylight settings — with 3D internet this realistic, Black Friday shoppers could have snapped up the bargains from their armchair!

Wow! We’ve been hearing a lot about this 3D Web technology lately. In fact, Intel’s Justin Rattner gave a keynote at SC09 that discussed the importance of 3D Web to the success of the high performance computing market. To whit, Rattner said: “There is nothing more important to the long-term health of the HPC industry than the 3D Web.”

If You Start Building It, Will They Fund It?

In a very brief announcement, we learned that Fujitsu is hailing the success of its next-gen supercomputer despite a November decision by a Japanese government panel to freeze funding for the project.

From the release:

* The electronics manufacturer has already developed a trial CPU especially for the supercomputer.

* Plans for the actual supercomputer call for some 20,000 circuit boards and approximately 80,000 CPUs.

Fujitsu is supported by the Ministry of Science and others, who are calling for the project to be continued. The company says it is ready to start production as soon as it gets the go-ahead.

Microsoft Previews New Visualization Language

This week, Microsoft unveiled a new visualization language that can be used to create interactive infographics, data visualizations and computational art. Vedea, as it is called, is designed to be accessible to both experienced and new programmers, as well as to people from non-programming domains. Its creators wanted to give people a tool to create their own visualizations without having to go to the experts, but yet have it be flexible enough that skilled programmers would not be constrained.

One thing that sets Vedea apart is its advanced graphics:

The graphical capabilities, especially when combined with simple data handling, are the most exciting aspect of Vedea. The current generation of infographics don’t look anything like the traditional pie and bar charts. … Vedea seeks to bring these visual capabilities to people who are more in tune with their data; their vision for representing that data; and their audience than they are with programming.

The Microsoft Visualization Language and its runtime will be available “very early in the coming year.” There is some more in-depth (read: technical) explanation at the Microsoft blog.

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