This Week in HPC News

By Nicole Hemsoth

February 6, 2014

From some fresh Department of Defense supercomputing investment, a leadership reboot at Microsoft, and some notable developments for companies like SGI and Mellanox, this has been a whirlwind week–just the kind that keeps things interesting…

With the HPC Advisory Council’s Stanford Conference and Exascale Workshop happening earlier in the week, there were plenty of presentations about the numerous software, memory, efficiency and other issues at the computational pinnacle. For those who were unable to attend the event, we secured an early summary of some of the key themes from a few attendees. Some of the presentations that are mentioned can be found at the HPC Advisory Council’s site, including the one that seemed to garner the most attention—Intel’s Mark Seager offered up a detailed overview of exascale application and architectural challenges. D.K. Panda’s presentation on exascale programming models also drew quite a bit of commentary—it’s worth a look here.

Before we get to the news roundup for the week, it seemed worth noting that a few of our own themes sprung up. Quantum computing had some airplay with both an interview with commercial quantum computing company D-Wave’s president, Bo Ewald, talking with us for a podcast episode about key user successes and challenges ahead. Adding to that, we reported on a new development toward integrated quantum systems. While not supercomputing per se quite yet, it’s hard to ignore the activity around this subject over the last year. Our podcast last year on the skeptical side drew an eyebrow raise—if you missed it, and need some balanced perspective on what’s really happening with these systems, it’s worth a second opinion from physicist, Dr. Helmut Katzgraber.

On the audio front, we spoke with a researcher at LBNL’s Advanced Light Source about data demands there; talked with the new director of TACC, Dan Stanzione about their experiences on their large Xeon Phi supercomputer, Stampede; checked in with market research experts to get a drift of what’s next for the HPC market in 2014, and more. Always good to give you eyes a break and listen instead, right?

And so finally, onto the week’s news we go. What we lack in quantity we certainly find in quality of the top items.

cray_logoDoD Bestows $43 Million on Cray for New Projects

We broke the story this week that Cray was coming into a large sum from the Department of Defense. We caught wind of it late last week and got confirmation via a slippery government document announcing formally that the company had been awarded two separate contracts at two sites at just over $21.5 million each. Details are still fuzzy on this with no formal word from Cray, but the DoD confirms that this award has been made.

Cray seems to be everywhere these days; with their YarcData (that is painful to type—it really is) division and new emphasis on Hadoop for both HPC and “big data” enterprise markets, this news is icing on the cake. For those who follow where they’re headed financially, there’s an upcoming investor call on February 13 at 4:30 Eastern. Details can be found on their site.

nadellaNew Windows Open at Microsoft

Not sure if that’s a bad pun or a clever subtitle, or is it just that you don’t want to hear anything else about Microsoft this week. Totally not blaming you for that—but listen. Perhaps there is something to this new leadership, something that will take R&D to the next level.

To be fair, despite our positive spin on what this might mean far down the road, once restructuring and rethinking take place, some have sent notes in the HPCwire direction this week post-this-article that noted Nadella was one of the (several) leaders behind the move to chuck the technical computing group into the cloud division. While the consensus seems to be that Microsoft might be more inclined to reinvest in some cutting edge new tools, the real dollars are going to push HPC as a much smaller slice of the “big compute” pie. “Big compute” to them includes HPC but it’s all wrapped in cloud puff. Not always a prime fit for the workloads they are targeting for their new high-end computing instance types (similar to AWS HPC instances).  Tiffany has a solid writeup of what Big Compute might mean for HPC…would you use it? And if not, would AWS’ instances be any better? Because is it more a matter of “why clouds” versus “which clouds” if it’s an issue at all? Interested in these questions…

mellanoxBig Week for Mellanox

In addition to managing the HPC Advisory Council event this week, Mellanox managed to spin out some news around its new Mellanox Capital arm.

Mellanox Capital will make investments in start-ups and technology companies that focus on innovative approaches to storage, compute, virtualization, cloud infrastructure, big data, enterprise application platforms, and embedded solutions. “As a key component of Mellanox’s innovation strategy, equity investments will provide us with access to technologies, markets, applications and key innovations influencing the data center as well as the high-performance interconnect market,” said Eyal Waldman, president and CEO of Mellanox Technologies. “Mellanox Capital will enhance our relationships with entrepreneurs, opening doors to new markets, customers, alliances, co-investors, and emerging technologies.”

Additionally the company announced the availability of its Ethernet Switch SDK API with full Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionality as an Open Source software platform. The release of the API is a continued step in the Open Ethernet initiative and works in conjunction with Open Compute Project (OCP). Mellanox says the Open SDK API enables the Ethernet community to build open source networking applications and protocols faster and can be a base for a standard Ethernet switch interface.

sgi_logo_platinumSGI Further Blends HPC, Big Data Offerings 

For those who like their big data and HPC served as separate courses, the pickings are getting slimmer. Many of the system vendors are seeing an ample opportunity for growth outside of “strict” HPC by using the big data key to open new enterprise doors. SGI has been at the forefront of this as well, rounding out the week with an announcement about their partnership with a big data company called Cogn.

As SGI stated, combining their “HPC technology for Big Data analytics, the recently announced plan to develop a SAP HANA in-memory computing appliance, and Cognilytics’ expertise in implementing technologies such as Hadoop and SAP Platform and Analytics solutions including SAP HANA and Predictive Analysis, the partnership enables the enterprise to closely align analytics initiatives with current business models to fully capitalize on results and achieve business objectives.”

There were probably shorter, more succinct ways to say that, but essentially, this is an announcement for the SGI InfiniteData Cluster and SGI UV, which will allow “business and government agencies to utilize Hadoop with faster, greater insight and at lower cost…Coupling the SGI InfiniteData Cluster with Hadoop and SGI UV with SAP HANA, SGI and Cognilytics will be able to provide a turnkey solution in these rapidly growing environments,” says SGI.

On the EDU Front…

Not much news to report from academia, national labs and the like this week, but there are couple of things worth pointing to. In terms of workshops and education the Extreme Scaling Workshop Issued Call for Submissions while the Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing has been scheduled for August.

Also, our congrats to the University of Illinois winners of the MEMOCODE Design Contest, using their Convey HC-1system.

That about covers it for the week. Be sure to subscribe to our daily podcast series for your commute or background noise at home and enjoy the weekend. We’ll be back next Thursday night (at some ridiculous hour, as usual) with what we hope will be an equally interesting week’s worth of news.

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!

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

AWS Arm-based Graviton3 Instances Now in Preview

December 1, 2021

Three years after unveiling the first generation of its AWS Graviton chip-powered instances in 2018, Amazon Web Services announced that the third generation of the processors – the AWS Graviton3 – will power all-new Amazon Elastic Compute 2 (EC2) C7g instances that are now available in preview. Debuting at the AWS re:Invent 2021... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies participated and, one of them, Graphcore, even held a separ Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2021 Edition

December 1, 2021

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Running a 3.2M vCPU HPC Workload on AWS with YellowDog

Historically, advances in fields such as meteorology, healthcare, and engineering, were achieved through large investments in on-premises computing infrastructure. Upfront capital investment and operational complexity have been the accepted norm of large-scale HPC research. Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

Raja Koduri and Satoshi Matsuoka Discuss the Future of HPC at SC21

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Intel's Raja Koduri and Riken's Satoshi Matsuoka in St. Louis for an off-the-cuff conversation about their SC21 experience, what comes after exascale and why they are collaborating. Koduri, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's accelerated computing systems and graphics (AXG) group, leads the team... Read more…

Jack Dongarra on SC21, the Top500 and His Retirement Plans

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Jack Dongarra, Top500 co-founder and Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, during SC21 in St. Louis to discuss the 2021 Top500 list, the outlook for global exascale computing, and what exactly is going on in that Viking helmet photo. Read more…

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

IonQ Is First Quantum Startup to Go Public; Will It be First to Deliver Profits?

November 3, 2021

On October 1 of this year, IonQ became the first pure-play quantum computing start-up to go public. At this writing, the stock (NYSE: IONQ) was around $15 and its market capitalization was roughly $2.89 billion. Co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe says it was fun to have a few of the company’s roughly 100 employees travel to New York to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock... Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

AMD Launches Milan-X CPU with 3D V-Cache and Multichip Instinct MI200 GPU

November 8, 2021

At a virtual event this morning, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company’s latest and much-anticipated server products: the new Milan-X CPU, which leverages AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology; and its new Instinct MI200 GPU, which provides up to 220 compute units across two Infinity Fabric-connected dies, delivering an astounding 47.9 peak double-precision teraflops. “We're in a high-performance computing megacycle, driven by the growing need to deploy additional compute performance... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

Quantum Computer Market Headed to $830M in 2024

September 13, 2021

What is one to make of the quantum computing market? Energized (lots of funding) but still chaotic and advancing in unpredictable ways (e.g. competing qubit tec Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire