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!

Nvidia Aims Clara Healthcare at Drug Discovery, Imaging via DGX

April 12, 2021

Nvidia Corp. continues to expand its Clara healthcare platform with the addition of computational drug discovery and medical imaging tools based on its DGX A100 platform, related InfiniBand networking and its AGX develop Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fledged partner to CPUs and GPUs in delivering advanced computi Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPOD Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” The newly announced SuperPods come just two years after the Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Uses NICE DCV for High-Performance 3D Remote Visualization

 

Volkswagen Passenger Cars has been one of the world’s largest car manufacturers for over 70 years. The company delivers more than 6 million automobiles to global customers every year, from 50 production locations on five continents. Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U.S. Entity List bars U.S. firms from supplying key technolog Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fle Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPOD Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

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…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire