The Week in Review

By Tiffany Trader

January 28, 2010

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

New Simulation Tool Could Shorten Manufacturing Design Process

AboveNet, University of Houston Partner on High Bandwidth Network

SDSC Joins Other UC San Diego Departments, LLNL in Oncology Collaboration

Platform Computing, Instrumental Extend Partnership

SGI Altix Selected as Dedicated System for Cancer Research

Voltaire Switch Includes Integrated Ethernet Gateway for Low-Latency Bridging

Governor Bill Richardson Launches Statewide Access to New Mexico’s Supercomputer

CERN’s ATLAS Experiment Powered by Dell and Industry IT Leaders

Texas Memory Systems Delivers PCIe Flash for Open Source Community

Mayo Clinic, IBM Advance Early Detection of Brain Aneurysms

Mellanox ConnectX-2 Controller Now Available Through HP

Argonne Scientists Use Supercomputers to Explore Nuclear Energy

AMD Reports Fourth Quarter Revenue, Over $1.6B

DOE Announces Annual Supercomputing Awards Bonanza, 1.6 Billion Hours!

It’s that time of the year again, when the folks at the US Department of Energy (DOE) get the fun job of awarding computer time to the most deserving high-end projects. This year, the numbers are impressive: 1.6 billion hours have been awarded to 69 projects. As always, this is all thanks to INCITE — the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment program, now in its seventh year.

According to the press release, the INCITE program, “provides powerful resources to enable scientists and engineers to conduct cutting-edge research in just weeks or months rather than the years or decades needed previously, … facilitat[ing] scientific breakthroughs in areas such as climate change, alternative energy, life sciences, and materials science.”

The cutting-edge projects were selected based on a peer review process and on their computational readiness to advance scientific discovery. They will get time on DOE’s Leadership Computing Facilities at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

24 million of the 1.6 billion hours will go toward helping researchers design materials for developing lithium air batteries, capable of powering a car for 500 miles on a single charge. To compare, lithium-ion batteries, which are used in currently-available plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, have a range of only 40 to 100 miles.

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies (IACAT) have also announced some details of their supercomputing awards, which includes 28 million hours for a new project titled: “Performance Evaluation and Analysis Consortium End Station.” This important endeavor aims to maximize the utility of DOE leadership class systems, such as the Cray XT4, Cray XT5, and IBM Blue Gene/P.

You can read about this project and all of the INCITE awardees, here.

Let’s take a quick look at how this year’s awards stack up to previous years. First off, breaking the billion hour mark and tearing past it — the 1.6 billion figure is an impressive 80 percent higher than last year’s. In December 2008, the DOE Office of Science announced 66 projects and nearly 900 processor-hours. That 900 hour figure is over three times the number of hours announced in January 2008, when the DOE awarded 265 hours (shared among 55 projects).

One trend that sticks out is that the number of projects are not increasing anywhere near as sharply as the number of hours awarded. To recap, for the last three years, the hours awarded go from 265 to 900 to 1.6 billion, and the number of projects goes from 55 to 66 to 69. Applications, and science in general, have become so complex and data-intensive, that it’s a given projects will require more and more computing time to process all of the information. To illustrate: there’s a push in climate modeling to reflect real-world systems as much as possible instead of simplifying the problem by approximating physical processes. For example, representing the earth as an ellipsoid requires more supercomputing power than using the less-complex (but less accurate) spherical shape. And we haven’t even touched on how the current drive toward real-time systems will increase our computational demands!

NVIDIA Partners with University of Illinois on GPU Programming Textbook

A “first of its kind” textbook, Programming Massively Parallel Processors: A Hands-on Approach, was announced today from GPU innovator NVIDIA and its partner-in-processing, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The 256-page text is authored by Dr. David B. Kirk, NVIDIA Fellow and former chief scientist, and Dr. Wen-mei Hwu, Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The material is aimed at teaching advanced computer science students and professionals the fundamentals of parallel programming and GPU architectures.

The announcement explains the impetus for the book:

With conventional CPU-based computing no longer scaling in performance and the world’s computational challenges increasing in complexity, the need for massively parallel processing has never been greater. GPUs have hundreds of cores capable of delivering transformative performance increases across a wide range of computational challenges. The rise of these multicore architectures has raised the need to teach advanced programmers a new and essential skill: how to program massively parallel processors.

The press release claims that this is the “first and only text that teaches how to program within a massively parallel environment.” The material in the book has been tested at over 300 universities worldwide, and drafts of the book have been used in classes at the University of Illinois. The book utilizes OpenCL and CUDA C, the parallel computing language developed by NVIDIA specifically for massively parallel systems.

The publisher, Morgan-Kauffman, has set up a site for the book here.

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ExxonMobil, NCSA, Cray Scale Reservoir Simulation to 700,000+ Processors

February 17, 2017

In a scaling breakthrough for oil and gas discovery, ExxonMobil geoscientists report they have harnessed the power of 717,000 processors – the equivalent of 22,000 32-processor computers – to run complex oil and gas reservoir simulation models. Read more…

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TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Drug Developers Use Google Cloud HPC in the Fight Against ALS

February 16, 2017

Within the haystack of a lethal disease such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / Lou Gehrig’s Disease) there exists, somewhere, the needle that will pierce this therapy-resistant affliction. Read more…

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HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Object Storage is the Ideal Storage Method for CME Companies

The communications, media, and entertainment (CME) sector is experiencing a massive paradigm shift driven by rising data volumes and the demand for high-performance data analytics. Read more…

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Feb. 16, 2017)

February 16, 2017

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

Alexander Named Dep. Dir. of Brookhaven Computational Initiative

February 15, 2017

Francis Alexander, a physicist with extensive management and leadership experience in computational science research, has been named Deputy Director of the Computational Science Initiative at the U.S. Read more…

Here’s What a Neural Net Looks Like On the Inside

February 15, 2017

Ever wonder what the inside of a machine learning model looks like? Today Graphcore released fascinating images that show how the computational graph concept maps to a new graph processor and graph programming framework it’s creating. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Azure Edges AWS in Linpack Benchmark Study

February 15, 2017

The “when will clouds be ready for HPC” question has ebbed and flowed for years. Read more…

By John Russell

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Drug Developers Use Google Cloud HPC in the Fight Against ALS

February 16, 2017

Within the haystack of a lethal disease such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / Lou Gehrig’s Disease) there exists, somewhere, the needle that will pierce this therapy-resistant affliction. Read more…

By Doug Black

Azure Edges AWS in Linpack Benchmark Study

February 15, 2017

The “when will clouds be ready for HPC” question has ebbed and flowed for years. Read more…

By John Russell

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

Cray Posts Best-Ever Quarter, Visibility Still Limited

February 10, 2017

On its Wednesday earnings call, Cray announced the largest revenue quarter in the company’s history and the second-highest revenue year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Cloud Startup Launches ‘App Store’ for HPC Workflows

February 9, 2017

“Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel and Trump Announce $7B for Fab 42 Targeting 7nm

February 8, 2017

In what may be an attempt by President Trump to reset his turbulent relationship with the high tech industry, he and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today announced plans to invest more than $7 billion to complete Fab 42. Read more…

By John Russell

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

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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

Leading Solution Providers

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

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell Knights Landing Machine Sets New STAC Records

November 2, 2016

The Securities Technology Analysis Center, commonly known as STAC, has released a new report characterizing the performance of the Knight Landing-based Dell PowerEdge C6320p server on the STAC-A2 benchmarking suite, widely used by the financial services industry to test and evaluate computing platforms. The Dell machine has set new records for both the baseline Greeks benchmark and the large Greeks benchmark. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

What Knights Landing Is Not

June 18, 2016

As we get ready to launch the newest member of the Intel Xeon Phi family, code named Knights Landing, it is natural that there be some questions and potentially some confusion. Read more…

By James Reinders, Intel

KNUPATH Hermosa-based Commercial Boards Expected in Q1 2017

December 15, 2016

Last June tech start-up KnuEdge emerged from stealth mode to begin spreading the word about its new processor and fabric technology that’s been roughly a decade in the making. Read more…

By John Russell

Intel and Trump Announce $7B for Fab 42 Targeting 7nm

February 8, 2017

In what may be an attempt by President Trump to reset his turbulent relationship with the high tech industry, he and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today announced plans to invest more than $7 billion to complete Fab 42. Read more…

By John Russell

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