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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AWS Launches Massive 100 Petabyte ‘Sneakernet’

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

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IBM and NSF Computing Pioneer Erich Bloch Dies at 91

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Pioneering Programmers Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Seagate-led SAGE Project Delivers Update on Exascale Goals

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AWS Launches Massive 100 Petabyte ‘Sneakernet’

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

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

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Seagate-led SAGE Project Delivers Update on Exascale Goals

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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…

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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…

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HPE-SGI to Tackle Exascale and Enterprise Targets

November 22, 2016

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Intel Details AI Hardware Strategy for Post-GPU Age

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SC Says Farewell to Salt Lake City, See You in Denver

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After an intense four-day flurry of activity (and a cold snap that brought some actual snow flurries), the SC16 show floor closed yesterday (Thursday) and the always-extensive technical program wound down today. Read more…

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

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

August 23, 2016

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Exascale Computing Project Awards $39.8M to 22 Projects

September 7, 2016

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HPE Gobbles SGI for Larger Slice of $11B HPC Pie

August 11, 2016

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced today that it will acquire rival HPC server maker SGI for $7.75 per share, or about $275 million, inclusive of cash and debt. The deal ends the seven-year reprieve that kept the SGI banner flying after Rackable Systems purchased the bankrupt Silicon Graphics Inc. for $25 million in 2009 and assumed the SGI brand. Bringing SGI into its fold bolsters HPE's high-performance computing and data analytics capabilities and expands its position... Read more…

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ARM Unveils Scalable Vector Extension for HPC at Hot Chips

August 22, 2016

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IBM Debuts Power8 Chip with NVLink and Three New Systems

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Leading Solution Providers

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US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

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

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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…

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CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

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Beyond von Neumann, Neuromorphic Computing Steadily Advances

March 21, 2016

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Dell EMC Engineers Strategy to Democratize HPC

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Container App ‘Singularity’ Eases Scientific Computing

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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…

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