The Week in HPC Research

By Tiffany Trader

January 24, 2013

As the name implies, this new feature highlights the top research stories of the week, hand-selected from prominent science journals and leading conference proceedings. This week brings us a wide-range of topics from stopping the spread of pandemics, to the latest trends in programming and chip design, and tools for enhancing the quality of simulation models.

Heading Off Pandemics

Virgina Tech researchers Keith R. Bisset, Stephen Eubank, and Madhav V. Marathe presented a paper at the 2012 Winter Simulation Conference that explores how high performance informatics can enhance pandemic preparedness.

The authors explain that pandemics, such as the recent H1N1 influenza, occur on a global scale and affect large swathes of the population. They are closely aligned with human behavior and social contact networks. The ordinary behavior and daily activities of individuals operating in modern society (with its large urban centers and reliance on international travel) provides the perfect environment for rapid disease propagation. Change the behavior, however, and you change the progression of a disease outbreak. This maxim is at the heart of public health policies aimed at mitigating the spread of infectious disease.

Armed with this knowledge, experts can develop effective planning and response strategies to keep pandemics in check. According to the authors, “recent quantitative changes in high performance computing and networking have created new opportunities for collecting, integrating, analyzing and accessing information related to such large social contact networks and epidemic outbreaks.” The Virginia Tech researchers have leveraged these advances to create the Cyber Infrastructure for EPIdemics (CIEPI), an HPC-oriented decision-support environment that helps communities plan for and respond to epidemics.

Next >> Help for the “Average Technologist”

Help for the “Average Technologist”

Another paper in the Proceedings of the Winter Simulation Conference addresses methods for boosting the democratization of modeling and simulation. According to Senior Technical Education Evangelist at The MathWorks Justyna Zander (who also affiliated with Gdansk University of Technology in Poland) and Senior Research Scientist at The MathWorks Pieter J. Mosterman (who is also an adjunct professor at McGill University), the list of practical applications associated with computational science and engineering is expanding. It’s common for people to use search engines, social media, and aspects of engineering to enhance their quality of life.

The researchers are proposing an online modeling and simulation (M&S) platform to assist the “average technologist” with making predictions and extrapolations. In the spirit of “open innovation,” the project will leverage crowd-sourcing and social-network-based processes. They expect the tool to support a wide range of fields, for example behavioral model analysis, big data extraction, and human computation.

In the words of the authors: “The platform aims at connecting users, developers, researchers, passionate citizens, and scientists in a professional network and opens the door to collaborative and multidisciplinary innovations.”

Next >> OpenStream and OpenMP

OpenStream and OpenMP

OpenMP is an API that provides shared-memory parallel programmers with a method for developing parallel applications on a range of platforms. A recent paper in the journal ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization (TACO) explores a streaming data-flow extension to the OpenMP 3.0 programming language. In this well-structured 26-page paper, OpenStream: Expressiveness and data-flow compilation of OpenMP streaming programs, researchers Antoniu Pop and Albert Cohen of INRIA and École Normale Supérieure (Paris, France) present an in-depth evaluation of their hypothesis.

Inria OpenStream research diagramThe work addresses the need for productivity-oriented programming models that exploit multicore architectures. The INRIA researchers argue the strength of parallel programming languages based on the data-flow model of computation. More specifically, they examine the stream programming model for OpenMP and introduce OpenStream, a data-flow extension of OpenMP that expresses dynamic dependent tasks. As the INRIA researchers explain, “the language supports nested task creation, modular composition, variable and unbounded sets of producers/consumers, and first-class streams.”

“We demonstrate the performance advantages of a data-flow execution model compared to more restricted task and barrier models. We also demonstrate the efficiency of our compilation and runtime algorithms for the support of complex dependence patterns arising from StarSs benchmarks,” notes the abstract.

Next >> The Superconductor Promise

The Superconductor Promise

There’s no denying that the pace of Moore’s Law scaling has slowed as transistor sizes approach the atomic level. Last week, DARPA and a semiconductor research coalition unveiled the $194 million STARnet program to address the physical limitations of chip design. In light of this recent news, this research out of the Nagoya University is especially relevant.

Quantum engineering specialist Akira Fukimaki has authored a paper on the advancement of superconductor digital electronics that highlights the role of the Rapid Single Flux Quantum (RSFQ) logic circuit. Next-generation chip design will need to minimize power demands and gate delay and this is the promise of RSFQ circuits, according to Fukimaki.

“Ultra short pulse of a voltage generated across a Josephson junction and release from charging/discharging process for signal transmission in RSFQ circuits enable us to reduce power consumption and gate delay,” he writes.

Fukimaki argues that RSFQ integrated circuits (ICs) have advantages over semiconductor ICs and energy-efficient single flux quantum circuits have been proposed that could yield additional benefits. And thanks to advances in the fabrication process, RSFQ ICs have a proven role in mixed signal and IT applications, including datacenters and supercomputers.

Next >> Working Smarter, Not Harder

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Is this a rule to live by or an overused maxim? A little of both maybe, but it’s also the title of a recent journal paper from researchers Susan M. Sanchez of the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, Calif., and Hong Wan of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

“Work smarter, not harder: a tutorial on designing and conducting simulation experiments,” published in the WSC ’12 proceedings, delves into one of the scientist’s most important tasks, creating simulation models. Such models not only greatly enhance scientific understanding, they have implications that extend to national defense, industry and manufacturing, and even inform public policy.

Creating an accurate model is complex work, involving thousands of factors. While realistic, well-founded models are based on high-dimensional design experiments, many large-scale simulation models are constructed in ad hoc ways, the authors claim. They argue that what’s needed is a solid foundation in experimental design. Their tutorial includes basic design concepts and best practices for conducting simulation experiments. Their goal is to help other researchers transform their simulation study into a simulation experiment.

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!

Cray Completes ClusterStor Deal, Sunsets Sonexion Brand

September 25, 2017

Having today completed the transaction and strategic partnership with Seagate announced back in July, Cray is now home to the ClusterStor line and will be sunsetting the Sonexion brand. This is not an acquisition; the ClusterStor assets are transferring from Seagate to Cray (minus the Seagate ClusterStor IBM Spectrum Scale product) and Cray is taking over support and maintenance for the entire ClusterStor base. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

China’s TianHe-2A will Use Proprietary Accelerator and Boast 94 Petaflops Peak

September 25, 2017

The details of China’s upgrade to TianHe-2 (MilkyWay-2) – now TianHe-2A – were revealed last week at the Third International High Performance Computing Forum (IHPCF2017) in China. The TianHe-2A will use a proprieta Read more…

By John Russell

SC17 Preview: Invited Talk Lineup Includes Gordon Bell, Paul Messina and Many Others

September 25, 2017

With the addition of esteemed supercomputing pioneer Gordon Bell to its invited talk lineup, SC17 now boasts a total of 12 invited talks on its agenda. As SC explains, "Invited Talks are a premier component of the SC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Prepares Customers for Success with the HPC Software Portfolio

High performance computing (HPC) software is key to harnessing the full power of HPC environments. Development and management tools enable IT departments to streamline installation and maintenance of their systems as well as create, optimize, and run their HPC applications. Read more…

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue’s max capacity and doubling 2016 attendee numbers), the one Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Completes ClusterStor Deal, Sunsets Sonexion Brand

September 25, 2017

Having today completed the transaction and strategic partnership with Seagate announced back in July, Cray is now home to the ClusterStor line and will be sunsetting the Sonexion brand. This is not an acquisition; the ClusterStor assets are transferring from Seagate to Cray (minus the Seagate ClusterStor IBM Spectrum Scale product) and Cray is taking over support and maintenance for the entire ClusterStor base. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

China’s TianHe-2A will Use Proprietary Accelerator and Boast 94 Petaflops Peak

September 25, 2017

The details of China’s upgrade to TianHe-2 (MilkyWay-2) – now TianHe-2A – were revealed last week at the Third International High Performance Computing Fo Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Machine Learning at HPC User Forum: Drilling into Specific Use Cases

September 22, 2017

The 66th HPC User Forum held September 5-7, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the elegant and historic Pfister Hotel, highlighting the 1893 Victorian décor and art o Read more…

By Arno Kolster

Stanford University and UberCloud Achieve Breakthrough in Living Heart Simulations

September 21, 2017

Cardiac arrhythmia can be an undesirable and potentially lethal side effect of drugs. During this condition, the electrical activity of the heart turns chaotic, Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud, and Francisco Sahli, Stanford University

PNNL’s Center for Advanced Tech Evaluation Seeks Wider HPC Community Ties

September 21, 2017

Two years ago the Department of Energy established the Center for Advanced Technology Evaluation (CENATE) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). CENAT Read more…

By John Russell

Exascale Computing Project Names Doug Kothe as Director

September 20, 2017

The Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has named Doug Kothe as its new director effective October 1. He replaces Paul Messina, who is stepping down after two years to return to Argonne National Laboratory. Kothe is a 32-year veteran of DOE’s National Laboratory System. Read more…

Takeaways from the Milwaukee HPC User Forum

September 19, 2017

Milwaukee’s elegant Pfister Hotel hosted approximately 100 attendees for the 66th HPC User Forum (September 5-7, 2017). In the original home city of Pabst Blu Read more…

By Merle Giles

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

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

Top500 Results: Latest List Trends and What’s in Store

June 19, 2017

Greetings from Frankfurt and the 2017 International Supercomputing Conference where the latest Top500 list has just been revealed. Although there were no major Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Clears Path to 5nm with Silicon Nanosheets

June 5, 2017

Two years since announcing the industry’s first 7nm node test chip, IBM and its research alliance partners GlobalFoundries and Samsung have developed a proces 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

Leading Solution Providers

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. 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

GlobalFoundries: 7nm Chips Coming in 2018, EUV in 2019

June 13, 2017

GlobalFoundries has formally announced that its 7nm technology is ready for customer engagement with product tape outs expected for the first half of 2018. The Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Advances Web-based Quantum Programming

September 5, 2017

IBM Research is pairing its Jupyter-based Data Science Experience notebook environment with its cloud-based quantum computer, IBM Q, in hopes of encouraging a new class of entrepreneurial user to solve intractable problems that even exceed the capabilities of the best AI systems. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

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