The Weekly Top Five

By Tiffany Trader

April 14, 2011

The Weekly Top Five features the five biggest HPC stories of the week, condensed for your reading pleasure. This week, we cover Bull’s third petascale computing contract; IBM’s new POWER7 servers, the first hybrid spintronics computer chips, Bull and Whamcloud’s beefed-up Lustre support; and Tilera’s latest manycore development tools.

Bull to Provide Supercomputer for Fusion Research

The Paris-based Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA) has selected Bull to provide a supercomputer for the International Fusion Energy Research Center (IFERC) in Rokkasho, Japan. The petaflop-class system will support advanced modeling and simulation in the field of plasmas and controlled fusion equipment. The contract marks the third time Bull will create a system with this level of performance.

From the announcement:

The new supercomputer is designed to be operational 24 hours per day. Its peak performance of almost 1.3 petaflops places it among the most powerful systems in the world. The computing components combine, within a “cluster” architecture, 4,410 blades bullx series B including 8,820 Intel Xeon processors of the “Sandy Bridge” type and 70,560 cores. The supercomputer is equipped with a memory exceeding 280 terabytes and a high bandwidth storage system of more than 5.7 petabytes, supplemented by a secondary storage system designed to support 50 petabytes. The connection network for the cluster is based on InfiniBand technology.

In addition to the above specs, 36 bullx series S systems and 38 bullx series R systems will be dedicated to the cluster’s administration, for management of the Lustre file systems and for user access. Bull will also provide 32 bullx series R systems including high-performance graphics cards for pre-and post processing and visualization. The high-end cluster will be equipped with the bullx supercomputer suite advanced edition, which was developed and optimized by Bull for petascale computers.

The installation process will begin in June. The supercomputer will be available to European and Japanese researchers for a period of five years, beginning January 2012. Bull will be responsible for the machine’s installation, maintainance and operation, and will receive support from local parter SGI Japan.

IBM Boosts POWER7 Systems

IBM has unveiled its latest POWER7 systems, including a performance bump to the Power 750, the server used in the famous Watson supercomputer. However, the new and improved Power 750 servers are even more powerful than the ones used in the Jeopardy-winning AI darling.

The new Power blades and Power servers will be used in mission-critical application areas, such as healthcare management, financial services, and scientific research. According to the release, “the specialized demands of these new applications rely on processing an enormous number of concurrent transactions and data while analyzing that information in real time.”

At the heart of the announcement are two new blades and two upgrades. The new blade servers, which IBM touts as providing an alternative to sprawling racks, include the two-socket (16-core), single-wide PS703, and the 32-core, double-wide PS704. Also debuting is the enhanced IBM Power 750 Express, like the one used in the Watson system. This server offers more than three times the performance of comparable 32-core offerings, such as Oracle’s SPARC T3-2 server, and more than twice the performance of HP’s Integrity BL890c i2. Last up is the enhanced IBM Power 755, a high-performance computing cluster node with 32 POWER7 cores and a faster processor.
 
A full accounting can be found in Editor Michael Feldman’s feature coverage. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll read:

Both the 750 and the 755 are four-socket Power7 servers that were introduced last year. The 750 is built for database serving and general enterprise consolidation/virtualization, while the InfiniBand-equipped 755 is aimed specifically at HPC users. The additional options on the 750 include new four-core and six-core Power7 CPUs running at 3.7 GHz, and two new eight-core Power7s running at 3.2 GHz and 3.6 GHz, respectively. The Power 755, which used to come only with 3.3 GHz chips, is now being outfitted with 3.6 GHz Power7s.

Why they didn’t offer an option for the faster 3.7 GHz Power7s on the Power 755 is a little mysterious. It seems like there would be some interest by HPC users that needed faster threads and a higher memory-to-compute ratio on certain applications.

OSU Lab Creates First Hybrid Spintronic Computer Chips

Ohio State University researchers have taken significant steps toward the creation of viable hybrid spintronic computer chips. The team developed the “first electronic circuit to merge traditional inorganic semiconductors with organic ‘spintronics’ — devices that utilize the spin of electrons to read, write and manipulate data.”

The group worked to combine an inorganic semiconductor with a unique plastic material being developed by OSU professor Arthur J. Epstein’s lab at Ohio State University. Epstein, a distinguished university professor of physics and chemistry and director of the Institute for Magnetic and Electronic Polymers at Ohio State, was the first to successfully store and retrieve data using a plastic spintronic device.

A paper published in the journal Physical Review Letter describes how the researchers were able to transmit “a spin-polarized electrical current from the plastic material, through the gallium arsenide, and into a light-emitting diode (LED) as proof that the organic and inorganic parts were working together.”

Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin, assistant professor of physics, examines possible uses for the technology:

If scientists could expand spintronic technology beyond memory applications into logic and computing applications, major advances in information processing could follow. Spintronic logic would theoretically require much less power, and produce much less heat, than current electronics, while enabling computers to turn on instantly without “booting up.” Hybrid and organic devices further promise computers that are lighter and more flexible, much as organic LEDs are now replacing inorganic LEDs in the production of flexible displays.

More work will need to be done before hybrid spintronics devices are ready for mass-production, but this hybrid circuit presents a good first step, one that lays the groundwork for future advances.

Bull, Whamcloud Extend Lustre Collaboration

A strengthened partnership with Whamcloud is enabling Bull to increase support and professional services for Lustre customers everywhere. Under the enhanced agreement, which builds on the duo’s existing technology partnership, Lustre users will “have access to Bull’s complete range of services starting from building scalable and highly available architectures, up to effective deployment and service level agreement (SLA) driven operations and support.”

Eric Monchalin, HPC software director at Bull, commented on the importance of parallel file systems for high performance computing HPC applications. Lustre is a high-performance, distributed open source file system used for large-scale cluster computing.

According to the release, the collaboration “enables Bull to leverage its long experience and deep knowledge in Lustre technology to provide validation and optimization of Lustre on Bull’s Extreme Computing bullx systems, integration with the bullx supercomputer suite HPC software stack, plus further development of Lustre’s administration and high availability functionality.”

European IT company Bull and venture-backed Whamcloud first announced a joint agreement for Lustre development in February. The team’s ultimate goal is to create a file system worthy of exaflop-class machines.

Tilera Tools Simplify Manycore Development Efforts

This week manycore chip specialist Tilera announced the release of its Multicore Development Environment (MDE) version 3.0, with enhancements aimed at simplifying manycore processor development.

From the release:

The new MDE is based on the recently released Linux 2.6.36 kernel, which integrates Tilera’s TILE architecture into the main Linux tree. The MDE includes cross compiling and native tool chains GCC 4.4, GDB 7.1, and GLIBC 2.11.2. The 3.0 MDE provides a full Linux distribution with over 1,000 Linux packages based on RHEL6 sources.

Support for Tilera’s architecture in the main Linux kernel creates many opportunities for open source developers to run their application on Tilera processors, the first manycore architecture to be supported by Linux. Tilera offers 64 cores today and up to 100 cores with the Tilera TILE-Gx family, coming later this year.

Linus Torvalds, founder and chief architect of the Linux kernel, was pleased with the news. “I am happy to have the TILE architecture in the kernel,” he said. ”Tilera provides innovative approaches for manycore processors.”

Tilera’s new software release includes both standard Linux and a GNU tool chain, helping users shorten development times. Tilera customers are able to use the same build infrastructure and make files, leverage the community’s resource and available software, and reduce the learning curve with standard tools and software environment.

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!

Women Coders from Russia, Italy, and Poland Top Study

January 17, 2017

According to a study posted on HackerRank today the best women coders as judged by performance on HackerRank challenges come from Russia, Italy, and Poland. Read more…

By John Russell

Spurred by Global Ambitions, Inspur in Joint HPC Deal with DDN

January 17, 2017

Inspur, the fast-growth cloud computing and server vendor from China that has several systems on the current Top500 list, and DDN, a leader in high-end storage, have announced a joint sales and marketing agreement to produce solutions based on DDN storage platforms integrated with servers, networking, software and services from Inspur. Read more…

By Doug Black

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Jan. 12, 2017)

January 12, 2017

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

NSF Seeks Input on Cyberinfrastructure Advances Needed

January 12, 2017

In cased you missed it, the National Science Foundation posted a “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) late last week seeking input on needs for the next generation of cyberinfrastructure to support science and engineering. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Remote Visualization: An Integral Technology for Upstream Oil & Gas

As the exploration and production (E&P) of natural resources evolves into an even more complex and vital task, visualization technology has become integral for the upstream oil and gas industry. Read more…

NSF Approves Bridges Phase 2 Upgrade for Broader Research Use

January 12, 2017

The recently completed phase 2 upgrade of the Bridges supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) has been approved by the National Science Foundation (NSF) making it now available for research allocations to the national scientific community, according to an announcement posted this week on the XSEDE web site. Read more…

By John Russell

Clemson Software Optimizes Big Data Transfers

January 11, 2017

Data-intensive science is not a new phenomenon as the high-energy physics and astrophysics communities can certainly attest, but today more and more scientists are facing steep data and throughput challenges fueled by soaring data volumes and the demands of global-scale collaboration. 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

UberCloud Cites Progress in HPC Cloud Computing

January 10, 2017

200 HPC cloud experiments, 80 case studies, and a ton of hands-on experience gained, that’s the harvest of four years of UberCloud HPC Experiments. Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Burak Yenier

Spurred by Global Ambitions, Inspur in Joint HPC Deal with DDN

January 17, 2017

Inspur, the fast-growth cloud computing and server vendor from China that has several systems on the current Top500 list, and DDN, a leader in high-end storage, have announced a joint sales and marketing agreement to produce solutions based on DDN storage platforms integrated with servers, networking, software and services from Inspur. Read more…

By Doug Black

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

UberCloud Cites Progress in HPC Cloud Computing

January 10, 2017

200 HPC cloud experiments, 80 case studies, and a ton of hands-on experience gained, that’s the harvest of four years of UberCloud HPC Experiments. Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Burak Yenier

A Conversation with Women in HPC Director Toni Collis

January 6, 2017

In this SC16 video interview, HPCwire Managing Editor Tiffany Trader sits down with Toni Collis, the director and founder of the Women in HPC (WHPC) network, to discuss the strides made since the organization’s debut in 2014. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Fast Rewind: 2016 Was a Wild Ride for HPC

December 23, 2016

Some years quietly sneak by – 2016 not so much. It’s safe to say there are always forces reshaping the HPC landscape but this year’s bunch seemed like a noisy lot. Among the noisemakers: TaihuLight, DGX-1/Pascal, Dell EMC & HPE-SGI et al., KNL to market, OPA-IB chest thumping, Fujitsu-ARM, new U.S. President-elect, BREXIT, JR’s Intel Exit, Exascale (whatever that means now), NCSA@30, whither NSCI, Deep Learning mania, HPC identity crisis…You get the picture. Read more…

By John Russell

AWI Uses New Cray Cluster for Earth Sciences and Bioinformatics

December 22, 2016

The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), headquartered in Bremerhaven, Germany, is one of the country's premier research institutes within the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, and is an internationally respected center of expertise for polar and marine research. In November 2015, AWI awarded Cray a contract to install a cluster supercomputer that would help the institute accelerate time to discovery. Now the effort is starting to pay off. Read more…

By Linda Barney

Addison Snell: The ‘Wild West’ of HPC Disaggregation

December 16, 2016

We caught up with Addison Snell, CEO of HPC industry watcher Intersect360, at SC16 last month, and Snell had his expected, extensive list of insights into trends driving advanced-scale technology in both the commercial and research sectors. Read more…

By Doug Black

AWS Beats Azure to K80 General Availability

September 30, 2016

Amazon Web Services has seeded its cloud with Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs to meet the growing demand for accelerated computing across an increasingly-diverse range of workloads. The P2 instance family is a welcome addition for compute- and data-focused users who were growing frustrated with the performance limitations of Amazon's G2 instances, which are backed by three-year-old Nvidia GRID K520 graphics cards. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Vectors: How the Old Became New Again in Supercomputing

September 26, 2016

Vector instructions, once a powerful performance innovation of supercomputing in the 1970s and 1980s became an obsolete technology in the 1990s. But like the mythical phoenix bird, vector instructions have arisen from the ashes. Here is the history of a technology that went from new to old then back to new. Read more…

By Lynd Stringer

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

Container App ‘Singularity’ Eases Scientific Computing

October 20, 2016

HPC container platform Singularity is just six months out from its 1.0 release but already is making inroads across the HPC research landscape. It's in use at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where Singularity founder Gregory Kurtzer has worked in the High Performance Computing Services (HPCS) group for 16 years. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell EMC Engineers Strategy to Democratize HPC

September 29, 2016

The freshly minted Dell EMC division of Dell Technologies is on a mission to take HPC mainstream with a strategy that hinges on engineered solutions, beginning with a focus on three industry verticals: manufacturing, research and life sciences. "Unlike traditional HPC where everybody bought parts, assembled parts and ran the workloads and did iterative engineering, we want folks to focus on time to innovation and let us worry about the infrastructure," said Jim Ganthier, senior vice president, validated solutions organization at Dell EMC Converged Platforms Solution Division. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

New Genomics Pipeline Combines AWS, Local HPC, and Supercomputing

September 22, 2016

Declining DNA sequencing costs and the rush to do whole genome sequencing (WGS) of large cohort populations – think 5000 subjects now, but many more thousands soon – presents a formidable computational challenge to researchers attempting to make sense of large cohort datasets. Read more…

By John Russell

Beyond von Neumann, Neuromorphic Computing Steadily Advances

March 21, 2016

Neuromorphic computing – brain inspired computing – has long been a tantalizing goal. The human brain does with around 20 watts what supercomputers do with megawatts. And power consumption isn’t the only difference. Fundamentally, brains ‘think differently’ than the von Neumann architecture-based computers. While neuromorphic computing progress has been intriguing, it has still not proven very practical. Read more…

By John Russell

The Exascale Computing Project Awards $39.8M to 22 Projects

September 7, 2016

The Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) hit an important milestone today with the announcement of its first round of funding, moving the nation closer to its goal of reaching capable exascale computing by 2023. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell Knights Landing Machine Sets New STAC Records

November 2, 2016

The Securities Technology Analysis Center, commonly known as STAC, has released a new report characterizing the performance of the Knight Landing-based Dell PowerEdge C6320p server on the STAC-A2 benchmarking suite, widely used by the financial services industry to test and evaluate computing platforms. The Dell machine has set new records for both the baseline Greeks benchmark and the large Greeks benchmark. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

What Knights Landing Is Not

June 18, 2016

As we get ready to launch the newest member of the Intel Xeon Phi family, code named Knights Landing, it is natural that there be some questions and potentially some confusion. Read more…

By James Reinders, Intel

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