The Week in Review

By Tiffany Trader

April 22, 2010

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

Chips, Worms and Grey Matter: More Similar Than You Think

NASA Announces a New Approach to Earth Science Data Analysis

Infinera Low Latency Solution Speeds Optical Transport

Panasas Intros Multi-Petabyte Scale-Out NAS Solution

JGI, NERSC Partner for Genomic High-Performance Computing

Mellanox Infiniband Available for Dell Blade Servers

DNAnexus Launches Web-Based Service for Next-Generation DNA Sequencing

CD-adapco Strengthens Partnership with Microsoft

Lightfleet Delivers First Optical Interconnect System to Microsoft Research

EStar Award Recognizes Innovative Supercomputer Cooling

TeraGrid Resources Help Harvard Team Gain Insights into Deafness

IBTA Announces RDMA over Converged Ethernet

Bright Cluster Manager Includes CUDA Toolkit 3.0

Altera Unveils 28-nm Stratix V FPGA Family

BLADE, Voltaire Partner on Highest-Density 10GbE Fabric Solution

Researcher Advances Understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease

As the most common neurodegenerative disorder, Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5 million people in America alone, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). University of Akron researcher Jie Zheng came a step closer this week to finding a cure for this devastating disease. Using supercomputing resources at the Ohio Supercomputer Center, Zheng created computer simulations that show how “misfolded” proteins in the brain contribute to degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s.

The announcement includes an explanatory paragraph of the science involved:

In the nucleus of nearly every human cell, long strands of DNA are packed tightly together to form chromosomes, which contain all the instructions a cell needs to function. To deliver these instructions to various other cellular structures, the chromosomes dispatch very small protein fibers — called oligomers — that fold into three-dimensional shapes. Misfolded proteins — called amyloid fibrils — cannot function properly and tend to accumulate into tangles and clumps of waxy plaque, robbing brain cells of their ability to operate and communicate with each other, according to NIH.

Zheng explains computer simulations allow scientists to “see” the amyloid oligomers at the molecular level, enabling them to determine the exact mechanism of the amyloid formation and the origin of its toxicity. This degree of understanding was just not possible using traditional experimental techniques.

Says Zheng: “Molecular simulations…allow one to study the three-dimensional structure and its kinetic pathway of amyloid oligomers at full atomic resolution.”

Adding credibility to the potential for Zheng’s work with amyloid proteins is the fact that he recently received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This five-year award is one of the NSF’s most prestigious recognitions and comes with $400,000 honorarium.

Takeaway: This research is vital for understanding how plaque forms and accumulates in the brain, how it contributes to the breakdown of cells and, ultimately, how the process might be prevented.

Cray System Selected for Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research

This week, Cray was chosen by the Foundation for Space Technology, Applications and Science (FUNCATE) to outfit the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) with a Cray XT6 supercomputer. FUNCATE is the Brazilian agency responsible for the procurement of high performance computers in Brazil. The new Cray system will be used for weather forecasting and climate studies.

Once the Cray system is in place, Brazil will be home to one of the largest numerical weather prediction and climate research centers in the world. Haroldo Fraga de Campos Velho, associate director for space and environment at INPE, explains what this means for his agency:

“The INPE scientific team asserts that continued increase in supercomputing capacity is paramount to the advancement of simulation capabilities and improvement in forecast quality. The Cray XT6 supercomputer is designed to support the most challenging high performance computing workloads in demanding operational environments, and INPE scientists are looking forward to applying the system’s computational resources in their simulations of atmospheric phenomena.”

The contract, which is valued at more than $20 million, includes the supercomputer and multi-year services. The system is expected to be production ready later this year.

The Cray XT6 supercomputer, announced during SC09, is Cray’s highest performing system, the runup to the XT5, which occupies several of the top spots on the current TOP500 list, including the number one and number three spots. The XT6 features AMD Opteron 6100 Series processors and Cray’s Seastar interconnect, and the compute blades can be configured with up to 96 processor cores per blade or more than 2,300 processor cores per cabinet.

This deal marks Cray’s first foray into Brazil and comes on the heels of another big announcement for a contract with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) worth more than $45 million. That one is for Cray’s forthcoming next-generation “Baker” system, which builds on Cray’s XT architecture.

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UCSD, AIST Forge Tighter Alliance with AI-Focused MOU

January 18, 2018

The rich history of collaboration between UC San Diego and AIST in Japan is getting richer. The organizations entered into a five-year memorandum of understanding on January 10. The MOU represents the continuation of a 1 Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Tennessee), Satoshi Matsuoka (Tokyo Institute of Technology), Read more…

By John Russell

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown and Spectre security updates on the performance of popular H Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and NREL Take Steps to Create a Sustainable, Energy-Efficient Data Center with an H2 Fuel Cell

As enterprises attempt to manage rising volumes of data, unplanned data center outages are becoming more common and more expensive. As the cost of downtime rises, enterprises lose out on productivity and valuable competitive advantage without access to their critical data. Read more…

Fostering Lustre Advancement Through Development and Contributions

January 17, 2018

Six months after organizational changes at Intel's High Performance Data (HPDD) division, most in the Lustre community have shed any initial apprehension around the potential changes that could affect or disrupt Lustre Read more…

By Carlos Aoki Thomaz

UCSD, AIST Forge Tighter Alliance with AI-Focused MOU

January 18, 2018

The rich history of collaboration between UC San Diego and AIST in Japan is getting richer. The organizations entered into a five-year memorandum of understandi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fostering Lustre Advancement Through Development and Contributions

January 17, 2018

Six months after organizational changes at Intel's High Performance Data (HPDD) division, most in the Lustre community have shed any initial apprehension aroun Read more…

By Carlos Aoki Thomaz

When the Chips Are Down

January 11, 2018

In the last article, "The High Stakes Semiconductor Game that Drives HPC Diversity," I alluded to the challenges facing the semiconductor industry and how that may impact the evolution of HPC systems over the next few years. I thought I’d lift the covers a little and look at some of the commercial challenges that impact the component technology we use in HPC. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

ANL’s Rick Stevens on CANDLE, ARM, Quantum, and More

January 8, 2018

Late last year HPCwire caught up with Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director for computing, environment and life Sciences at Argonne National Laboratory, f Read more…

By John Russell

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

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