Top 10 Hits and Misses for 2012

By Michael Feldman

December 13, 2012

In the world of high performance computing, a lot of the important news this year revolved around heterogeneous computing, big data, and HPC interconnects. Two vendors that perhaps embodied those technologies more so than others were Cray and Intel, both of which figured prominently in some of the biggest HPC stories in 2012.  Here are HPCwire’s highlights and lowlights for the year.

Hit: Accelerators Break Teraflop Barrier

With the introduction of NVIDIA’s Kepler K20/K20X GPUs, Intel’s newly hatched Xeon Phi line, and AMD’s new FirePro GPU offering in November, users can now buy a teraflop computing device for just a few thousand dollars. NVIDIA has established itself as the market leader and its latest K20X GPU looks to keep that role intact. Intel’s entrance into the market with its Knights Corner coprocessors, and AMD’s re-entrance with its server-grade FirePro S10000, will offer some interesting alternatives though, and should widen the aperture significantly for heterogeneous computing in the year ahead.

Hit: Sandy Bridge CPUs Debut

Before Intel launched the Knights Corner products, the chipmaker was already making its mark on the supercomputing landscape with its mainstream Xeon line. The first Sandy Bridge Xeon parts (the E5-2600 processor family) were officially released in March. At that point though, there were already at least ten TOP500-class supercomputers being powered by the chips using early production parts. Sandy Bridge represents a new microarchitecture, featuring PCIe Gen3 on chip, a faster memory interface, an integrated I/O hub, and AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions). The latter is Intel’s new 256-bit vector instruction set that effectively doubles FP throughput.

Miss: AMD Gets Existential

AMD, suffering from a weakened PC market in 2012, announced in October it would lay off 15 percent of its workforce this year. The Opteron chip division, which serves the HPC server space was in somewhat better shape though. The company launched its new “Piledriver”-based Opteron 6300 in November, but there was little hope that the new line would do anything to reverse Intel’s dominance of the server chip market. To top it off, in November, rumors surfaced that the chipmaker was looking to sell the company, or at least some its assets, to interested parties. AMD denied the rumors.

Hit: HPC Cozies Up to Big Data

HPC vendors embraced “big data” in a big way in 2012, or at least their marketing departments did. And as some in the industry have argued, HPC and big data are joined at the hip. HPC server makers, interconnect vendors, storage companies, would tend to agree; in 2012, they all jumped on the bandwagon. Supercomputing technology is shaping up to be a key ingredient for big data machinery.

Hit: Cray Yarcs Up Big Data

To make the HPC-big data connection official, supercomputer-maker Cray launched into the business with a brand new division devoted to the technology. Dubbed YarcData (Yarc is Cray spelled backward) the group was announced in February and unveiled its first commercial product in March. The appliance, known as uRiKA, recycles Cray’s XMT hardware to deliver a graph analytics platform that is aimed at “real-time knowledge discovery.” So far the company has sold a handful of the machines.

Miss: Feds Suck the Energy Out of SC12

Thanks to fallout from GSA financial misconduct at an employee training conference in 2010, US government funding for Department of Energy (DOE) booths and attendance at the Supercomputing Conference (SC12) in November was curtailed significantly this year. The feds subsequently issued an edict to curtail travel expenses, which led to a $100K-per-conference spending limit for the DOE. Effectively that meant no pretty booths for any of the energy agency’s labs and a smaller contingent of DOE attendees roaming the conference halls this year.

Hit: Titan Wins Linpack Sweepstakes

The DOE might have been missing in action at SC12, but its supercomputers got plenty of attention. The GPU rework of Cray’s Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) captured the number one spot on the new TOP500 list. Titan, as it is now known, delivered 17.6 petaflops on Linpack, knocking another DOE supercomputer, Lawrence Livermore Lab’s Sequoia, into second place. The NVIDIA GPU-powered Titan also bested Sequoia, an IBM Blue Gene/Q machine, in energy efficiency.

Hit: Cray Acquires Appro

The most significant supercomputing acquisition of the year came in November when Cray shelled out $25 million to buy Appro, a privately owned HPC cluster-maker. Appro, which has been in the business for 20 years, makes commodity supercomputer clusters (commodity inasmuch as Appro gear relies on industry-standard interconnects like InfiniBand), mainly for the US market.  The move expands Cray’s portfolio considerably and is expected to add $60 million worth of revenue to the company’s top line in 2013.

Hit: Intel Rolls Up Fabrics

In 2012 Intel bought up two HPC interconnect technologies and started to devise a fabric strategy around them. In January, the chipmaker anted up $125 million to buy QLogic’s InfiniBand assets. And in April, Intel added to its collection by acquiring Cray’s custom interconnect IP and expertise for $140 million. Intel’s strategic interest in the technology is to bring these fabrics on-chip, essentially integrating a NIC onto the processor die. The move dovetails with Intel’s plans to provide silicon componentry for exascale machines.

Miss: US Exascale Plans in Limbo

With DARPA’s Ubiquitous High Performance Computing (UHPC) program now but a distant memory, it fell to the DOE to pick up the exascale slack for the US. But now we’ve learned that program is also running into delays. According to a presentation delivered at SC12 by William Harrod, the Research Division Director of the DOE’s Office of Science Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program, the agency’s original plans of fielding its first exaflop machine before the end of the decade is in jeopardy. Harrod said that even if the government approves exascale funding next year, the first such machines are probably not going to arrive before 2020, and more likely, not until 2022.

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 the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is enjoying a prosperity seen only every few decades, one driven Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, produ Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that delivers up to 75 Gb/s per rack on industry standard hardware combined with “enterprise-grade reliability and manageability.” Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This