This Week in HPC News

By Nicole Hemsoth

January 30, 2014

Not sure about the rest of you out there in supercomputing land, but the month of January seems to have flown by. Time tends to tick a bit faster with an active news cycle and evolving promises of more action in these early days of 2014.

Before we move into the top picks from this week’s news, it seemed pertinent to point to something rolling out in the next couple of weeks. A new special feature series that takes a look at (the many) lessons HPC has to offer large-scale enterprise users kicked off with the introductory article, to be followed by more specific drill-downs on those themes, which include addressing, managing, storing and analyzing data at multiple layers; finding efficient ways to scale; balancing performance with other critical needs and more. Cultivating responses and crafting around the themes many of you identified for your enterprise brethren (and…sistren?) has been eye-opening, to say the least. Stay tuned.

With that, a quick note about another series—this one ongoing. As many of you have probably noticed, we’ve changed the format of our Soundbite podcast series and are now carrying daily (Monday through Friday) editions. The aim is to bring diverse perspectives to bear from many corners of the HPC ecosystem in engaging interview form, all in a 20-minute(ish) envelope. For instance, this week, we talked with a Texas A&M researcher seeking more robust measurements for quantum computing, surveyed the data landscape for astrophysics with Dr. Kirk Borne, went inside some molecular dynamics research at ORNL on the novel Anton system, and checked in with trusty Grid Engine via an interview with Univa’s CEO. On tap for tomorrow and next week, we have the new acting director at TACC on to talk about Stampede’s first year and lessons learned with their use of Xeon Phi, as well as talk with D-Wave president, Bo Ewald.

But enough chatter, take a moment to see if you’re on the list of People to Watch for 2014 (although chances are you’d know by now) then let’s burrow into the news of the week with some of the most noteworthy items that crossed the wires…

NERSC_edisonCongratulations to NERSC– Edison System Accepted

This is one cool system—quite literally.

In addition to its compute horsepower, this will be the first supercomputer at NERSC to rely solely on outside air to remain chill, a technique known as “free cooling.” Water is snaked through outside cooling towers that run back into the system’s internal radiators, which cool the air instead of heat it.

NERSC_statsAs NERSC describes, “Fans located between each pair of cabinets in a row pull air in one end; circulate it through a radiator, over the hot components and on to the next set of cabinets before it exits at the row’s end. This side-to-side airflow, or transverse cooling, is more energy efficient than the typical front-to-back flow of most systems.

“Edison can execute nearly 2.4 quadrillion floating-point operations per second (petaflop/s) at peak theoretical speeds. While theoretical speeds are impressive, ‘NERSC’s longstanding approach is to evaluate proposed systems by how well they meet the needs of our diverse community of researchers, so we focus on sustained performance on real applications,’ said NERSC Division Deputy for Operations Jeff Broughton, who led the Edison procurement team.”

Edison will be dedicated on February 5 as the teams there also celebrate 40 years of the center’s operation. We’ll check in with the system following the dedication to learn how the current set of early users and production runs are making use of the scientific resource.

IBM Announces STAR of Approval, Partnerships

IBM has been stealing headlines in January, most notably with the sale of their x86 server business to Lenovo. We talked to Dave Turek, VP of Advanced Computing at IBM about that (and their refreshed HPC strategy here). The interview with Turek came in the wake of an announcement about a new partnership with Texas A&M University.

To add to their news ranks, they took the lid off eleven new servers that meet v2.0 guidelines now in effect under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program. The specific Power System and System x servers qualified for ENERGY STAR version 2.0 include: Power 730, Power 740, Power 750 and Power 760 servers. The qualified System x servers are: x3650 M4 HD, x3650 M4, x3500 M4, x3550 M4, dx360 M4, nx360 M4 and x222.

As IBM commented, “the agency also predicts that if all servers sold in the United States were to meet ENERGY STAR specifications, energy cost savings would approach $800 million per year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from over one million vehicles.”

Global NetworkInternet2 Secures $1.3 Million NSF Grant

Internet2 announced this week that it received a grant for $1.3 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support small colleges and universities that have notable research projects and cyberinfrastructure needs even though the institutions are not primarily research focused.

Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research, and community service missions.

The grant project titled, “Broadening the Reach: Support of Campus Cyberinfrastructure at Non-Research-Intensive and EPSCoR Institutions,” will consist of three workshops and up to 30 campus consulting visits, over two years.

AMD Wraps Around ARM, Open Compute

The Open Compute Summit generated some key processor news this week from the likes of AMD, which announced a comprehensive development platform for its first 64-bit ARM-based server CPU, fabricated using 28 nanometer process technology. In addition, they also formally announced coming sampling of the ARM-based processor, named the AMD Opteron A1100 Series, and a development platform, which includes an evaluation board and a comprehensive software suite.

Adding to those key news items, AMD also said they’d be contributing a new micro-server design using the AMD Opteron A-Series for the Open Compute Project, as part of the common slot architecture specification for motherboards dubbed “Group Hug.” Awww….

University Technology Adoption/Research News

Here’s just a quick overview of some notable items on that front:

UL Lafayette Research Assists U.S. Military

University of Luxembourg Boosts Research Capabilities with Allinea MAP

University of Bristol Joins IPCC Program

NUI Galway Joins IPCC Program

And speaking of news from that segment, don’t forget that current students can Apply for Summer School on HPC Challenges in Computational Sciences

That about wraps it up for the week; make sure to take a look at the Off the Wire section for more news that didn’t make it to the top items. 

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!

Infographic Highlights Career of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

December 5, 2016

Dr. Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an early pioneer of computer science and one of the most famous women achievers in a field dominated by men. Read more…

By Staff

Ganthier, Turkel on the Dell EMC Road Ahead

December 5, 2016

Who is Dell EMC and why should you care? Glad you asked is Jim Ganthier’s quick response. Ganthier is SVP for validated solutions and high performance computing for the new (even bigger) technology giant Dell EMC following Dell’s acquisition of EMC in September. In this case, says Ganthier, the blending of the two companies is a 1+1 = 5 proposition. Not bad math if you can pull it off. Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Embraces FPGAs, ‘Elastic’ GPUs

December 2, 2016

A new instance type rolled out this week by Amazon Web Services is based on customizable field programmable gate arrays that promise to strike a balance between performance and cost as emerging workloads create requirements often unmet by general-purpose processors. Read more…

By George Leopold

AWS Launches Massive 100 Petabyte ‘Sneakernet’

December 1, 2016

Amazon Web Services now offers a way to move data into its cloud by the truckload. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Dec. 1, 2016)

December 1, 2016

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

HPC Career Notes (Dec. 2016)

December 1, 2016

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high performance computing community. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

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

IBM and NSF Computing Pioneer Erich Bloch Dies at 91

November 30, 2016

Erich Bloch, a computational pioneer whose competitive zeal and commercial bent helped transform the National Science Foundation while he was its director, died last Friday at age 91. Bloch was a productive force to be reckoned. During his long stint at IBM prior to joining NSF Bloch spearheaded development of the “Stretch” supercomputer and IBM’s phenomenally successful System/360. Read more…

By John Russell

Ganthier, Turkel on the Dell EMC Road Ahead

December 5, 2016

Who is Dell EMC and why should you care? Glad you asked is Jim Ganthier’s quick response. Ganthier is SVP for validated solutions and high performance computing for the new (even bigger) technology giant Dell EMC following Dell’s acquisition of EMC in September. In this case, says Ganthier, the blending of the two companies is a 1+1 = 5 proposition. Not bad math if you can pull it off. Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Launches Massive 100 Petabyte ‘Sneakernet’

December 1, 2016

Amazon Web Services now offers a way to move data into its cloud by the truckload. 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

Seagate-led SAGE Project Delivers Update on Exascale Goals

November 29, 2016

Roughly a year and a half after its launch, the SAGE exascale storage project led by Seagate has delivered a substantive interim report – Data Storage for Extreme Scale. Read more…

By John Russell

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

HPE-SGI to Tackle Exascale and Enterprise Targets

November 22, 2016

At first blush, and maybe second blush too, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) purchase of SGI seems like an unambiguous win-win. SGI’s advanced shared memory technology, its popular UV product line (Hanna), deep vertical market expertise, and services-led go-to-market capability all give HPE a leg up in its drive to remake itself. Bear in mind HPE came into existence just a year ago with the split of Hewlett-Packard. The computer landscape, including HPC, is shifting with still unclear consequences. One wonders who’s next on the deal block following Dell’s recent merger with EMC. Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Details AI Hardware Strategy for Post-GPU Age

November 21, 2016

Last week at SC16, Intel revealed its product roadmap for embedding its processors with key capabilities and attributes needed to take artificial intelligence (AI) to the next level. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

SC Says Farewell to Salt Lake City, See You in Denver

November 18, 2016

After an intense four-day flurry of activity (and a cold snap that brought some actual snow flurries), the SC16 show floor closed yesterday (Thursday) and the always-extensive technical program wound down today. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Why 2016 Is the Most Important Year in HPC in Over Two Decades

August 23, 2016

In 1994, two NASA employees connected 16 commodity workstations together using a standard Ethernet LAN and installed open-source message passing software that allowed their number-crunching scientific application to run on the whole “cluster” of machines as if it were a single entity. Read more…

By Vincent Natoli, Stone Ridge Technology

IBM Advances Against x86 with Power9

August 30, 2016

After offering OpenPower Summit attendees a limited preview in April, IBM is unveiling further details of its next-gen CPU, Power9, which the tech mainstay is counting on to regain market share ceded to rival Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Think Fast – Is Neuromorphic Computing Set to Leap Forward?

August 15, 2016

Steadily advancing neuromorphic computing technology has created high expectations for this fundamentally different approach to computing. 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

HPE Gobbles SGI for Larger Slice of $11B HPC Pie

August 11, 2016

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced today that it will acquire rival HPC server maker SGI for $7.75 per share, or about $275 million, inclusive of cash and debt. The deal ends the seven-year reprieve that kept the SGI banner flying after Rackable Systems purchased the bankrupt Silicon Graphics Inc. for $25 million in 2009 and assumed the SGI brand. Bringing SGI into its fold bolsters HPE's high-performance computing and data analytics capabilities and expands its position... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ARM Unveils Scalable Vector Extension for HPC at Hot Chips

August 22, 2016

ARM and Fujitsu today announced a scalable vector extension (SVE) to the ARMv8-A architecture intended to enhance ARM capabilities in HPC workloads. Fujitsu is the lead silicon partner in the effort (so far) and will use ARM with SVE technology in its post K computer, Japan’s next flagship supercomputer planned for the 2020 timeframe. This is an important incremental step for ARM, which seeks to push more aggressively into mainstream and HPC server markets. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Debuts Power8 Chip with NVLink and Three New Systems

September 8, 2016

Not long after revealing more details about its next-gen Power9 chip due in 2017, IBM today rolled out three new Power8-based Linux servers and a new version of its Power8 chip featuring Nvidia’s NVLink interconnect. Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

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

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

Intel Launches Silicon Photonics Chip, Previews Next-Gen Phi for AI

August 18, 2016

At the Intel Developer Forum, held in San Francisco this week, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager Diane Bryant announced the launch of Intel's Silicon Photonics product line and teased a brand-new Phi product, codenamed "Knights Mill," aimed at machine learning workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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

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

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

Micron, Intel Prepare to Launch 3D XPoint Memory

August 16, 2016

Micron Technology used last week’s Flash Memory Summit to roll out its new line of 3D XPoint memory technology jointly developed with Intel while demonstrating the technology in solid-state drives. Micron claimed its Quantx line delivers PCI Express (PCIe) SSD performance with read latencies at less than 10 microseconds and writes at less than 20 microseconds. Read more…

By George Leopold

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