The Weekly Top Five

By Tiffany Trader

March 10, 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 ‘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