The Weekly Top Five

By Tiffany Trader

March 31, 2011

The Weekly Top Five features the five biggest HPC stories of the week, condensed for your reading pleasure. This week, we cover the UK-based Atomic Weapons Establishment’s selection of two SGI Altix systems; Platform’s new solution for managing “big data”; the effect of rising sea levels on the North Carolina coastal region; SDSC’s new portal for conducting phylogenetic research; and the selection of Ian Foster for this year’s IEEE Tsutomu Kanai Award.

SGI Supports UK Atomic Weapons Establishment

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), located in the United Kingdom, has selected two SGI Altix UV 1000 systems to assist with several critical applications, including nuclear deterrence.

In the official release, Ken Atkinson, HPC strategy and procurement manager at AWE, was quoted as saying:

“The breadth and depth of our science, engineering and technology is extensive, and includes several key areas that are central to AWE’s work, such as plasma physics, design physics and supercomputing. We require the most advanced high performance computing to support our demanding, large memory applications, and looked to SGI to provide a system on which we can rely. We can now run our largest problem sets in less than half the time it previously took, bringing the total cost of ownership over the next three years to less than 50 percent of the current level.”

SGI officials explain that the Altix UV systems were designed for maximum scalability. The fully-integrated cabinet-level solution comes equipped with up to 256 sockets (2,048 cores) and 16 terabytes of shared memory in four racks. All told, a single system image can deliver up to 18.5 teraflops of computing power.

AWE is tasked with manufacturing and maintaining the warheads for the UK’s nuclear deterrent, Trident. The SGI system will assist the AWE in meeting its goal of maintaing its nuclear arsenal without the need for actual nuclear testing in accordance with UK laws.

Platform Computing Develops “Big Data” Solution

Platform Computing announced it has created an analytics solution to support “big data” using the Apache Hadoop MapReduce programming model. Platform’s distributed analytics platform is fully compatible with MapReduce, providing current MapReduce applications with a smooth transition to the Platform solution, while also supporting multiple distributed file systems.

From the release:

By extending enterprise-class capabilities to MapReduce distributed workloads, customers benefit from the ability to scale to thousands of commodity server cores for shared applications. The results include the ability to perform at very high execution rates, offer IT manageability and monitoring while controlling workload policies for multiple lines of business users and applications and obtain built-in, high availability services that ensure quality of service.

Carl Olofson, research vice president, IDC, describes how the solution addresses customer needs:

“Customers need a robust solution to manage and process their dynamically defined data, their sensor data, and their unstructured data. MapReduce has proven to be a leading tool for analyzing this data, but customers need enterprise-class solutions to ensure manageability and scalability for these environments. Platform is positioned well to provide distributed workload and enterprise class middleware to address these challenges.”

In our feature coverage of this story, Editor Nicole Hemsoth reveals how Platform created the new offering by layering APIs over the company’s core distributed computing middleware, Platform Symphony. Symphony provides the distributed management and job execution engine, over which the Platform developers affix specific APIs for different job types. Hemsoth explains that “users can manage complexity by using the Symphony framework along with those APIs, and on the backside, using connectors to file systems or databases to serve as I/O for MapReduce jobs.”

Rising Sea Levels Could Alter North Carolina Coast

Scientists at the North-Carolina based research organization RENCI are employing sophisticated computer modeling to predict how the changing climate will affect the North Carolina coast in the coming centuries. Specifically, they have been able to show how “increases in sea level over the next 100 years could affect coastal communities, wildlife and the coastline itself.”

Researchers are concerned that melting water from glaciers and thermal expansion from warming oceans will raise sea levels by one-half to 1 meter (1.6 to 3.2 feet) over the course of the next century and by 1 meter to 2 meters (6.5 feet) over the next 200 years. If that occurs, the North Carolina coast will undergo an extreme makeover, according to UNC-Chapel Hill marine scientist Tom Shay.

Shay and his colleagues are using the ADCIRC coastal storm surge modeling software and the SWAN (for Simulating WAves Nearshore) wave modeling software to illustrate how future weather events along with higher sea levels could affect the coastal region. The RENCI supercomputer is running multiple storm simulations to generate forecasts about future coastal climate change and associated risks, such as to the inhabitants of the area and to the local economy.

Shay says that if sea level rises by a meter, “we will see higher tides, higher tidal velocities and tidal inundation every day. And we’ll have a different shoreline.”

The scientists hope that their work will help inform policy, but are also careful to point out that there is a degree of uncertainty when dealing with one-hundred-year timeframes.

CIPRES Gateway Speeds Phylogenetic Analyses

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has unveiled a new resource that facilitates the study evolutionary relationships among large populations of living things. The tool, called CIPRES (CyberInfrastructure for Phylogenetic RESearch) Gateway, is a Web portal that allows scientists to upload their data via a standard Internet browser and perform phylogenetic analyses from any location. Designed for ease-of-use and accessibility, CIPRES allows researchers to generate results in less time without the need for high levels of computer expertise.

Mark Miller, principal investigator in SDSC’s Research, Education and Development group, and leader of the CIPRES Gateway project, examines some of the practical benefits that come from a thorough understanding of evolutionary relationships. For example, he explains how “knowing the evolutionary relationships among a group of viruses or bacteria can help doctors understand where an infection came from, effectively treat patients who are infected, and work to contain the spread of disease during an outbreak.”

This is a field that relies heavily on high-end computational resources. As Miller notes, “there are only three possible relationships between any four individuals, but there are more than two million different relationships between 10 individuals. A computer that could analyze a million trees per second would require about 20 billion years to test all the possible relationships for just 22 individuals!”As the amount of data grows, so do the computing requirements.” That’s where the CIPRES Gateway and TeraGrid supercomputers come in. The parallel computing power of the TeraGrid systems allows the large sequencing problems to be broken into smaller pieces that can be run simultaneously across many processor cores.

Operational for a little over a year, the CIPRES Gateway has already assisted more than 2,000 scientists who have used the platform to run more than 35,000 analyses for approximately 100 completed studies in the biological and medical arenas.

Ian Foster Receives Prestigious Tsutomu Kanai Award

The University of Chicago announced that Ian Foster was selected as this year’s IEEE Tsutomu Kanai Award recipient. The award, named in honor of former Hitachi president Tsutomu Kanai, is given in recognition of major contributions to state-of-the art, distributed computing systems and their applications, and includes a $10,000 honorarium.

Ian Foster is the director of the Computation Institute, a joint initiative between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. He is also the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science at UChicago and an Argonne Distinguished Fellow at Argonne.

Foster is both a leading advocate and a pioneering visionary in the field of distributed computing. As the announcement points out, the methods that Foster and his colleagues have developed “allow computing to be delivered reliably and securely on demand, as a service, and permit the formation and operation of virtual organizations linking people and resources worldwide. These results, and the associated Globus open-source software, have helped advance discovery in such areas as high-energy physics, environmental science and biomedicine. Grid computing methods also have proved influential outside the world of science, contributing to the emergence of cloud computing.”

Foster shared his thoughts on the achievement in a prepared statement:

“I am extremely honored to receive this award. Distributed computing is critical for solving complex system-level problems in a wide range of applications, from energy and climate to bioinformatics and molecular engineering, and continues to enable breakthroughs in research across the sciences.”

The award ceremony will be held May 25, 2011, in Albuquerque, NM.

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!

Musk’s Latest Startup Eyes Brain-Computer Links

April 21, 2017

Elon Musk, the auto and space entrepreneur and severe critic of artificial intelligence, is forming a new venture that reportedly will seek to develop an interface between the human brain and computers. Read more…

By George Leopold

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

Nvidia P100 Shows 1.3-2.3x Speedup Over K80 GPU on Financial Apps

April 20, 2017

When it comes to the true performance of the latest silicon, every end user knows that the best processor is the one that works best for their application. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Adds Global Smarts to StorNext File System

April 20, 2017

Companies that use Quantum’s StorNext platform to store massive amounts of data this week got a glimpse of new storage capabilities that should make it easier to access their data horde from anywhere in the world. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC-Driven Weather Simulations Improving Forecasting Capabilities

In September of 1938, a massive hurricane traversed the Atlantic Ocean and made landfall in New England. Due to inadequate and incorrect forecasting, the storm struck farther north and with greater intensity than had been predicted, leaving residents and authorities with virtually no warning or time to properly prepare. Read more…

Scaling an HPC Career in Nepal Can Be a Steep Climb

April 20, 2017

Umesh Upadhyaya works as an IT Associate at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal, which supports the country’s one and only HPC facility. He is directly involved in an initiative that focuses on climate change and atmosphere modeling Read more…

By Nages Sieslack

Hyperion (IDC) Paints a Bullish Picture of HPC Future

April 20, 2017

Hyperion Research – formerly IDC’s HPC group – yesterday painted a fascinating and complicated portrait of the HPC community’s health and prospects at the HPC User Forum held in Albuquerque, NM. HPC sales are up and growing ($22 billion, all HPC segments, 2016). Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Open Sources All Lustre Work, Brent Gorda Exits

April 19, 2017

In a letter to the Lustre community posted on the Intel website, Vice President of Intel's Data Center Group Trish Damkroger writes that effective immediately the company will be contributing all Lustre development to the open source community. Damkroger also announced that Brent Gorda, General Manager, High Performance Data Division at Intel is leaving the company. 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

Hyperion (IDC) Paints a Bullish Picture of HPC Future

April 20, 2017

Hyperion Research – formerly IDC’s HPC group – yesterday painted a fascinating and complicated portrait of the HPC community’s health and prospects at the HPC User Forum held in Albuquerque, NM. HPC sales are up and growing ($22 billion, all HPC segments, 2016). 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

CERN openlab Explores New CPU/FPGA Processing Solutions

April 14, 2017

Through a CERN openlab project known as the ‘High-Throughput Computing Collaboration,’ researchers are investigating the use of various Intel technologies in data filtering and data acquisition systems. Read more…

By Linda Barney

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

Penguin Takes a Run at the Big Cloud Providers

April 12, 2017

HPC specialist Penguin Computing recently re-ran benchmarks from a study of its larger brethren and says the results show its ‘public cloud’ – Penguin on Demand (POD) – is among the leaders in cost and performance. 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

HPC and the Colocation Datacenter – a Bridge Too Far?

April 7, 2017

A more standardised HPC platform approach is making the running of HPC projects within increasing financial reach. Read more…

By Clive Longbottom, Quocirca

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 phase of neural networks (NN). 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 phase of neural networks (NN). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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. 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 campaign. 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 assets. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

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

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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