The Weekly Top Five

By Tiffany Trader

February 3, 2011

The Weekly Top Five features the five biggest HPC stories of the week, condensed for your reading pleasure. This week, we cover the computing power on display at SC10’s Student Cluster Competition; the University of Portsmouth’s new supercomputer; IBM Watson’s Linux platform; multicore advances at North Carolina State; and Intel’s new approach to university funding.

SC10’s Student Cluster Competition Raises the Bar

The student team from Louisiana State University was one of three teams to break the teraflop barrier at SC10’s Student Cluster Competition. This is the first year that any team has achieved that distinction, and the honor is shared with teams from the University of Texas and National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan).

In the Student Cluster Competition at SC10, which took place in New Orleans in November, eight teams gathered from around the country and from as far away as Russia and Taiwan to design and build clusters that solve real-world problems. The teams prepared for months working with their advisors and vendor partners. Winning teams were selected by a panel of experts, based on visualization output, presentations and interviews.

The LSU students received vendor support from HP and LATG, Mellanox, Portland Group and Adaptive Computing and were advised by Isaac Traxler, Unix Services Manager at LSU’s High Performance Computing (HPC) and Center for Computation & Technology. Under Traxler’s tutelage, the students spent one night a week for six months working on the project, in addition to many hours spent working on their own.

With 144 cores, the LSU cluster executed the competition’s four open source applications while staying within the 26 Amp constrained power limit.

UK-Based Supercomputer to Further Cosmic Reaserch

Scientists at the University of Portsmouth are about to get a new supercomputer, one that has the equivalent strength of approximately 1,000 desktop systems. The system will give cosmologists an edge when it comes to understanding galaxy formation and even the origin of gravity itself.

Named “SCIAMA,” the 1,008-core cluster was built by Dell and designed to process large amounts of astronomical data very quickly. Researchers at the University’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) will use the cluster to solve complex cosmological problems, like simulating vast regions of the universe and exploring the properties of hundreds of millions of galaxies.

The supercomputer was named in honor of Dennis Sciama, a leading figure in the astrophysics and cosmology community. SCIAMA is also an acronym for SEPnet Computing Infrastructure for Astrophysical Modelling and Analysis.

Gary Burton, ICG’s senior specialist technician and the person who will soon be managing the supercomputer, explained that “the huge power of a supercomputer like SCIAMA is necessary to deal with the vast amount of observational data coming from satellites, telescopes and other detectors. Using it will allow us to explore the whole of cosmic history and analyse data that contains fundamental clues about the origins of the Universe.”

Watson Supercomputer Is SUSE Linux Machine

SUSE Linux is about to get its 15 minutes of fame. Novell announced this week that IBM Watson’s DeepQA software is running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11. Watson is the supercomputer that will soon have the distinction of being the first non-human Jeopardy contestant. The novel tournament takes place Feb. 14-16.

Watson contains more than 200 million digital pages of information and operates at a speed of over 80 teraflops. IBM has designed Watson with a combination of deep analytics and rapid processing speeds that can make sense of the kind of “natural language” questions that are at the core of this popular primetime gameshow.

Linux has a long history of use in the field of high performance computing, and this is spelled out in the announcement:

Watson’s “Jeopardy!” appearance serves as further validation of the advantages of Linux in high-performance computing environments, as Linux has long been regarded as the operating system of choice among the fastest and most complex environments in the world. In the latest TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, 459 are running Linux and six of the top 10 systems are based on SUSE Linux Enterprise or a derivative of it.

NC State Research Team Speeds Chip Communication

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a hardware technology, called HAQu, that boosts software performance by enabling chip-to-chip communication. In multicore setups, the core communication is rather inefficient, with the chips using memory as the “third-party” intermediary. If the chips could communicate with one another directly, it would save a lot of time.

The computer engineers have detailed their findings in a paper, called “HAQu: Hardware-Accelerated Queueing for Fine-Grained Threading on a Chip Multiprocessor, (PDF)” which will be presented at the International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture in San Antonio, Texas, on Feb. 14.

Dr. James Tuck, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author of the paper, explained in the university’s announcement that the “technology is more efficient because it provides a single instruction to send data to another core, which is six times faster than the best state-of-the-art software” (that the researchers could find). He went on to state that HAQu is “not hardware designed to communicate data on its own, but is hardware that expedites data-sharing using existing data paths on a computer chip.”

Even though it is a piece of hardware, HAQu is similar to software communication tools in that it is able to leverage a chip’s existing data paths. It is also reduces energy draw. Despite using more energy, it runs more quickly, resulting in a net decrease in consumption.

The same research team was responsible for a parallelization technique that could enable common computer programs to run up to 20 percent faster. The non-traditional approach works on programs that are normally difficult to parallelize, such as as word processors and Web browsers, by running memory-management functions on a separate thread. That work has also been written up as a paper (PDF).

Intel Labs Commits $100 Million to University Research

Intel Corp. announced intentions to invest $100 million into US university research over the next five years. With this new model, funding to researchers could increase five-fold.

Intel Labs will launch multiple Intel Science and Technology centers over the coming year in an effort to boost innovations in computing and communications. The centers will pursue advances in visual computing, mobility, security and embedded solutions. Stanford University will host the first center, with a focus on creating visualization solutions for both consumer and professionals.

From the release:

This first Intel Science and Technology Center, as well as those that will follow later this year, represents a new model of collaboration for the company. Until now, Intel Labs ran open collaboration centers near research universities and a substantial portion of the company’s funding focused on operating, maintaining and staffing these facilities. The new centers will be Intel-funded and jointly led by Intel and university researchers. They are designed to provide more dollars in the hands of researchers, and to encourage tighter collaboration between academic thought leaders in essential technology areas such as visual computing, security and mobile computing. For maximum flexibility, Intel will be able to tune its research agenda across the research centers over time. Intel plans to invite proposals from the academic community to continue pursuing the creation of additional Intel Science and Technology Centers.

Read more about the Stanford-based center, here.

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 ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “pre-exascale” award), parsed out additional information ab Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid whoops and hollers from the crowd, Thomas Sterling presented t Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out plans to push deeper into climate science and develop more gran Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale companies and their embrace of AI and deep learning – tha Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Creating a Roadmap for HPC Innovation at ISC 2017

In an era where technological advancements are driving innovation to every sector, and powering major economic and scientific breakthroughs, high performance computing (HPC) is crucial to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. Read more…

At ISC – Goh on Go: Humans Can’t Scale, the Data-Centric Learning Machine Can

June 22, 2017

I've seen the future this week at ISC, it’s on display in prototype or Powerpoint form, and it’s going to dumbfound you. The future is an AI neural network designed to emulate and compete with the human brain. In thi Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Brings AI and HPC Together on Flagship Supers

June 20, 2017

Cray took one more step toward the convergence of big data and high performance computing (HPC) today when it announced that it’s adding a full suite of big data and artificial intelligence software to its top-of-the-l Read more…

By Alex Woodie

AMD Charges Back into the Datacenter and HPC Workflows with EPYC Processor

June 20, 2017

AMD is charging back into the enterprise datacenter and select HPC workflows with its new EPYC 7000 processor line, code-named Naples, announced today at a “global” launch event in Austin TX. In many ways it was a fu Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion: Deep Learning, AI Helping Drive Healthy HPC Industry Growth

June 20, 2017

To be at the ISC conference in Frankfurt this week is to experience deep immersion in deep learning. Users want to learn about it, vendors want to talk about it, analysts and journalists want to report on it. Deep learni Read more…

By Doug Black

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid wh Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out pla Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale Read more…

By Doug Black

At ISC – Goh on Go: Humans Can’t Scale, the Data-Centric Learning Machine Can

June 22, 2017

I've seen the future this week at ISC, it’s on display in prototype or Powerpoint form, and it’s going to dumbfound you. The future is an AI neural network Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Brings AI and HPC Together on Flagship Supers

June 20, 2017

Cray took one more step toward the convergence of big data and high performance computing (HPC) today when it announced that it’s adding a full suite of big d Read more…

By Alex Woodie

AMD Charges Back into the Datacenter and HPC Workflows with EPYC Processor

June 20, 2017

AMD is charging back into the enterprise datacenter and select HPC workflows with its new EPYC 7000 processor line, code-named Naples, announced today at a “g Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion: Deep Learning, AI Helping Drive Healthy HPC Industry Growth

June 20, 2017

To be at the ISC conference in Frankfurt this week is to experience deep immersion in deep learning. Users want to learn about it, vendors want to talk about it Read more…

By Doug Black

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

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

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is the successor to Caffe, the deep learning framework developed by Berkeley AI Research and community contributors. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

Joint DOE-NSA report responds to the increased global pressures impacting the competitiveness of U.S. supercomputing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of “quantum supremacy,” researchers are stretching the limits of today’s most advanced supercomputers. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Messina Update: The US Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

Knights Landing Processor with Omni-Path Makes Cloud Debut

April 18, 2017

HPC cloud specialist Rescale is partnering with Intel and HPC resource provider R Systems to offer first-ever cloud access to Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" processors. The infrastructure is based on the 68-core Intel Knights Landing processor with integrated Omni-Path fabric (the 7250F Xeon Phi). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This