The Weekly Top Five

By Tiffany Trader

March 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 new “Trestles” system at SDSC; Canada’s big supercomputing allocation; NVIDIA’s CUDA Toolkit enhancements; a joint public-private manufacturing initiative; and Supermicro’s latest compact offerings.

SDSC’s “Trestles” Comes Online

“Trestles,” the newest supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), debuted this week. This 100-teraflop system is available to users of the TeraGrid, the country’s largest open science infrastructure.

Trestles features Appro’s latest quad-socket server outfitted with 8-core AMD Magny-Cours Opterons connected via a QDR InfiniBand fabric. With 324 nodes, the cluster has a total of 10,368 cores. Each server node sports 64 gigabytes (GB) of DDR3 memory and 120 GB of flash memory. On the whole, the system has 20 terabytes of memory and 38 terabytes of flash memory, and runs at a peak speed of 100 teraflop/s. Based on the latest TOP500 list, Trestles would come in at #111.

UCSD and SDSC are pioneering the use of flash technology in HPC systems, a move away from the slower spinning-disk hard drives. Flash got its start in small devices, like mobile phones and laptop computers, but its use in high-end systems is starting to gain momentum. Benefits of flash include faster read/write speeds, higher reliability and better energy-efficiency.

Trestles will serve as a bridge until the more powerful 245-teraflop “Gordon” supercomputer is installed later this year. Gordon is part of a five-year, $20 million NSF-funded project and will employ a large amount of flash memory. ”Dash,” deployed last April, is SDSC’s other flash-based system. All three clusters employ a similar architecture, one that leverages commodity parts in novel ways to maximize performance.

Trestles has been in development since last August, when SDSC announced the $2.8 million NSF award. The supercomputer will be available to TeraGrid users through 2013.

Compute Canada Announces Largest Allocation

Compute Canada, a national platform of advanced computing resources, in partnership with SciNet, Canada’s largest supercomputer center, have announced the largest allocations ever made on Canadian supercomputers, intended to enable huge scientific advances. The high-end resources will be used to boost research in a diverse array of scientific disciplines. Applications include aerospace design, climate modeling, medical imaging, galaxy formation, proton collision and more.

The grants were awarded on a competitive basis, taking into account both the projects’ scientific merit and computational need. It is the role of SciNet and Compute Canada to help Canadian reseachers to create tools and products that improve lives.

Dr. Seth Dworkin, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department, is using the computing resources to study the combustion of biofuels, aiming to develop cleaner burning substitutes for aviation use. Dr. Dworkin states, “The expertise and computational resources at SciNet are helping us tackle problems of combustion-generated emissions using simulations of unprecedented size and accuracy. We’re learning more and more about the formation and nanostructure of atmospheric pollutants and are now able to apply that knowledge to the design of engines and alternative fuels.”

New Manufacturing Effort Relies on HPC

A major manufacturing effort was launched by the Obama administration on Wednesday. The National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium (NDEMC) was formed to bolster the nation’s small manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) by increasing their access to high-end computing resources. The collection of public-private interests was organized by the Council on Competitiveness in light of poor HPC adoption among small-to-medium-sized manufacturing outfits. Matching underserved manufacturing companies with cutting-edge modeling and simulation tools has been shown to improve product quality, reduce implentation times, and cut costs.

In addition to the Council on Competitiveness, project partners include the Ohio Supercomputing Center, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, and Purdue University. Joining them are private partners are Deere & Co., General Electric, Proctor & Gamble, and Lockheed Martin.

Also announced was the Midwest Project for SME-OEM Use of Modeling and Simulation. Part of the greater NDEMC project, the Midwest Project is also engaged in using the power of simulation and modeling to increase manufacturing output.

The US Department of Commerce contributed $2 million in funding with an additional 2.5 million coming from industrial partners. As reported in our feature story, the project is expected to start within the next four to six weeks and last for 18 months. Supporters hope that a successful outcome will lead to to renewed suppport and additional funding.

In related news, the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) has signed a collaboration agreement with the Procter & Gamble Company. The parties will work together on innovative modeling and simulation projects.

NVIDIA Updates CUDA Toolkit

This week NVIDIA announced its latest CUDA Toolkit, version 4.0. The release was designed to enable more developers to take advantage of the parallel programming capability of GPU computing. New features include unified virtual addressing, GPU-to-GPU communication and expanded C++ template libraries.

The company describes the updates as follows:

  • NVIDIA GPUDirect 2.0 Technology – Offers support for peer-to-peer communication among GPUs within a single server or workstation. This enables easier and faster multi-GPU programming and application performance.
  • Unified Virtual Addressing (UVA) – Provides a single merged-memory address space for the main system memory and the GPU memories, enabling quicker and easier parallel programming.
  • Thrust C++ Template Performance Primitives Libraries – Provides a collection of powerful open source C++ parallel algorithms and data structures that ease programming for C++ developers. With Thrust, routines such as parallel sorting are 5X to 100X faster than with Standard Template Library (STL) and Threading Building Blocks (TBB).

A release candidate of CUDA Toolkit 4.0 is available starting this Friday.

For more in-depth analysis, check out our feature coverage.

Supermicro Debuts 8-Way Server

Supermicro introduced its 8-Way Enterprise Server at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, on Monday. The solution comes with up to sixty-four Xeon processor cores packed into a 5U enclosure that also includes 64 DIMMs, up to 10 PCI 2.0 expansion slots, and 24 2.5″ hard drives. An 80-core option is coming soon, according to the company. Supermicro also launched its SuperBlade system, which supports 20 GPUs in a single 7U blade.

Charles Liang, CEO and president of Supermicro, reported on the new offerings:

Compared to other GPU-enabled blade solutions Supermicro’s GPU SuperBlade provides more than double the number of GPUs per 1U of rack space, and our 8-Way SuperServer is unique in the industry with support for eight next-generation ten-core Intel Xeon MP processors in a 5U form factor, up to 2TB of memory and 10 PCI-E 2.0 slots for high availability and virtualization support. Taken together with Supermicro’s broad line of 1U, 2U and 4U GPU supercomputing servers, we have established undisputed leadership in the new and rapidly evolving GPU computing business space. These new products play well into our strategy to deliver the end-to-end IT hardware needs of datacenter, HPC and server farm customers.

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!

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate scientists the ability to use machine learning to identify e Read more…

By Rob Farber

Mellanox Reacts to Activist Investor Pressures in Letter to Shareholders

March 16, 2018

Activist investor Starboard Value has been exerting pressure on Mellanox Technologies to increase its returns. In response, the high-performance networking company on Monday, March 12, published a letter to shareholders outlining its proposal for a May 2018 extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders and highlighting its long-term growth strategy and focus on operating margin improvement. Read more…

By Staff

Quantum Computing vs. Our ‘Caveman Newtonian Brain’: Why Quantum Is So Hard

March 15, 2018

Quantum is coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon enough. Within 10 to 12 years, we’re told, special-purpose quantum systems will enter the commercial realm. Assuming this happens, we can also assume that quantum will, over extended time, become increasingly general purpose as it delivers mind-blowing power. Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Achieve Optimal Performance at Scale with High Performance Fabrics for HPC

High Performance Computing (HPC) is unlocking a new era of speed and productivity to fuel business transformation. Rapid advancements in HPC capabilities are helping organizations operate faster and more effectively than ever, but in today’s fast-paced marketplace, a new generation of technologies is required to reach greater scalability and cost-efficiency. Read more…

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise IT in its willingness to outsource computational power. The m Read more…

By Chris Downing

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Stephen Hawking, Legendary Scientist, Dies at 76

March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge, England, in the early morning of March 14; he was 76. Born on January 8, 1942, Hawking was an English theo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hyperion Tackles Elusive Quantum Computing Landscape

March 13, 2018

Quantum computing - exciting and off-putting all at once - is a kaleidoscope of technology and market questions whose shapes and positions are far from settled. Read more…

By John Russell

Part Two: Navigating Life Sciences Choppy HPC Waters in 2018

March 8, 2018

2017 was not necessarily the best year to build a large HPC system for life sciences say Ari Berman, VP and GM of consulting services, and Aaron Gardner, direct Read more…

By John Russell

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SciNet Launches Niagara, Canada’s Fastest Supercomputer

March 5, 2018

SciNet and the University of Toronto today unveiled "Niagara," Canada's most-powerful supercomputer, comprising 1,500 dense Lenovo ThinkSystem SD530 high-perfor Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H 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

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

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

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

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

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Leading Solution Providers

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

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

V100 Good but not Great on Select Deep Learning Aps, Says Xcelerit

November 27, 2017

Wringing optimum performance from hardware to accelerate deep learning applications is a challenge that often depends on the specific application in use. A benc Read more…

By John Russell

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

World Record: Quantum Computer with 46 Qubits Simulated

December 18, 2017

Scientists from the Jülich Supercomputing Centre have set a new world record. Together with researchers from Wuhan University and the University of Groningen, Read more…

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

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