The Weekly Top Five

By Tiffany Trader

January 20, 2011

The Weekly Top Five features the five biggest HPC stories of the week, condensed for your reading pleasure. This week, we cover Durham University’s newest “Cosmology Machine”; NetApp’s Engenio acquisition; the 2010 ACM Turing Award winner; SGI’s ArcFiniti storage archive; and an MRAM data storage advance worthy of patenting.

‘Cosmology Machine’ Helps Solve Riddles of Universe

Durham University’s renowned Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) is now home to a powerful new server and storage cluster. The fourth generation “Cosmology machine,” aka COSMA4, will enable researchers to perform fine-grained simulations of the Universe, leading to greater knowledge of galaxies, stars and planets. A team of 20 cosmology researchers make up the cluster’s main user base, although there are 100 registered users in total.

Professor Carlos Frenk, director of the ICC, commented on the significance of the new system:

“Unlike other sciences it is very difficult to ‘test’ theories on the Universe. Brain power alone is not enough to calculate the complex algorithms. However, our new server and storage cluster does enable us to experiment with the Universe and answer fundamental questions that we all have about our cosmic environment, how does gravity operate and how does the Universe expand, for example.”

The server and storage cluster features 220 IBM iDataPlex servers and eight IBM DS3500 storage devices. With 25 teraflops of computing power, the COSMA4 is seven times faster than its predecessor, COSMA3, and 50 times faster than COSMA2, now decommissioned.

The cluster was designed to be powerful but eco-friendly. It is currently running at 91 percent efficiency, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, and has an energy-efficiency rating of 400 megaflops per watt of energy consumed, equivalent to a 19th place ranking on the most recent Green500 list. To illustrate the machine’s green credentials, it uses about the same power as COSMA2, despite being many times faster.

NetApp Takes Over Engenio Business from LSI

NetApp has announced an agreement to purchase the Engenio external storage systems business of LSI Corporation for $480 million in cash. NetApp officials believe they can extract profit from the Engenio line in emerging markets such as video and high performance computing applications. If all goes as planned, the deal will be closed in 60 days. According to the official announcement, the transaction will be reflected on NetApp’s earnings statement by the end of the second quarter of its 2012 fiscal year.

President and CEO of NetApp, Tom Georgens, highlighted some possible benefits to the company:

“We’re excited about the acquisition of the Engenio business and the opportunity to significantly expand our addressable market and generate greater revenue growth. Our customers and partners have helped us emerge as an innovation leader and one of the fastest growing storage vendors in shared, virtualized IT infrastructures. With Engenio we will have a strategic storage platform to capitalize on new, high-growth opportunities that we don’t currently reach with our FAS platform. NetApp also gains a proven OEM-based revenue stream that is run by a talented Engenio team. We believe that the synergies between NetApp and Engenio will create a compelling combination that will help us continue to scale our business and fuel our continued growth.”

As part of the deal, NetApp will keep the Engenio engineering team. The Engenio business unit will be folded into NetApp’s business functions under the direction of Manish Goel, executive vice president of NetApp Product Operations. The NetApp and Engenio sales teams will be merged.

For additional coverage of this story, check out HPCwire Editor Michael Feldman’s in-depth analysis.

Harvard Professor Receives ACM Turing Award

This week, Harvard professor Leslie G. Valiant was named the winner of the 2010 ACM A.M. Turing Award. The Association for Computing Machinery, or ACM, selected Valient “based on his fundamental contributions to the development of computational learning theory and to the broader theory of computer science.”

An innovator in machine learning, Valiant has made numerous important contributions to the field of artificial intelligence, including natural language processing, handwriting recognition, and computer vision. He has also developed models for parallel and distributed computing and is currently working on the forefront of computational neuroscience.

Valiant even helped create the technology behind IBM’s Watson computer, which achieved a win on the popular Jeopardy quiz show last month, when it took part in an exhibition match against two champion human players.

“Leslie Valiant’s accomplishments over the last 30 years have provided the theoretical basis for progress in artificial intelligence and led to extraordinary achievements in machine learning,” remarked ACM President Alain Chesnais.

“His profound vision in computer science, mathematics, and cognitive theory have been combined with other techniques to build modern forms of machine learning and communication, like IBM’s ‘Watson’ computing system, that have enabled computing systems to rival a human’s ability to answer questions,” Chesnais added.

The Turing Award, named after British mathematician Alan M. Turing, carries a $250,000 honorarium, sponsored by Intel Corporation and Google Inc.

SGI Announces ArcFiniti Storage Archive

SGI debuted its AcrFiniti archive storage solution this week, which the company is marketing as “a fully integrated disk-based solution that targets the exploding problem of unstructured, file-based data sprawl.” The release comes one year after SGI acquired the COPAN MAID technology and marks the company’s second set of enhancements.

According to SGI officials, ArcFiniti is available in five configurations, ranging from 156 TB to 1.4 PB of usable archive capacity. At the high-end, a single 1.4 PB rack represents as much data as 20 years of HD-TV video or 10 billion photos on Facebook. All files are always network-accessible.

Brent Van Scyoc, vice president of the Federal Solutions Group at Alliance Technology Group, comments on the release:

“SGI is delivering a very elegant and simple solution to what is a common but complex challenge for many of our customers. Customers need a reliable, scalable archive solution that can be dropped into an existing work environment and grow with the business. SGI ArcFiniti delivers such a solution, and we are excited to work with SGI to bring this to our customers.”

German Research Center PTB Patents Faster MRAM Design

Researchers at Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany’s national metrology institute, have invented a super-fast MRAM data storage mechanism.

According to the release:

Magnetic Random Access Memories (MRAM) are the most important new modules on the market of computer storage devices. Like the well known USB-sticks, they store information into static memory, but MRAM offer short access times and unlimited writing properties. Commercial MRAMs have been on the market since 2005. They are, however, still slower than the competitors they have among the volatile storage media.

PTB researchers have created a speedier MRAM, employing a special chip connection to reduce response times from 2 ns to below 500 ps. Using real-world data rates, that’s like going from 400 MBit up to 2 GBit.

The announcement explains that current DRAM and SRAM solutions lose their memory if there is an interuption in power supply. The MRAM, however, could be immune to such disruptions because information is not stored in the form of an electric charge, but is retained using magnetic spins. That is why MRAMs are considered universal storage chips. In addition to non-volatile storage, the technology offer such benefits as “faster access, a high integration density and an unlimited number of writing and reading cycles.”

The European patent is being granted this spring, while the US patent was granted in 2010. The researchers are currently looking for an industrial partner to take on development and manufacturing responsibilities.

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!

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is enjoying a prosperity seen only every few decades, one driven Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, produ Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This