This Week in HPC News

By Nicole Hemsoth

February 27, 2014

It’s been another packed week in high performance computing, with a bevy of new partnership, supercomputing installations and news about coming systems hitting our radar.

Interestingly, despite some of the top news items summarized below, one of the most fascinating stories this week (at least in terms of the massive numbers of views/listens) is the podcast interview with a certain mysterious John Fitzpatrick, who claims to have $50 billion lined up for his exascale-class supercomputer that he’ll be opening for currency trading (and donated time for science) in Oregon. Hard to hide the skepticism during the interview, but this couldn’t be ignored in case it actually (somehow) happens. Oh, and by the way, he says the system will be up and running in 2014. So there’s that. (Yes, that’s what I thought too)…

If you’re in the habit of listening, we try to keep things a bit more grounded. However, one more on the (more realistic) speculative technology side to consider is our interview with Dr. Larry Smarr, who talks about everything from new materials, quantum computers and the exascale systems of the future. Other topics included adapting Cray machines for whole genome analysis at Argonne, networks for powering climate research, architectural considerations for astrophysics applications, and more. A fun week, for sure.

Several news items to cover in no particular order…

hall_o_justissSuperlabs Unite for Supercomputing Prowess

A new collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Livermore (CORAL) will seek to develop systems in the 2017-2018 timeframe to support the research missions at their respective institutions.

A joint Request for Proposals for the CORAL procurement was issued Jan. 6 and responses were submitted Feb. 18. These are now being evaluated. The intention is that CORAL partners will select two different vendors and procure a total of three systems, two from one vendor and one from the other. Livermore is leading the procurement process.

Livermore’s system, to be called Sierra, will be best suited to support the applications critical to stockpile stewardship. Oak Ridge and Argonne will employ systems that meet the needs of their DOE Office of Science missions under the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program. Vendors are submitting test clusters now.

A3Cube Comes out of Stealth

The company emerged this week with its ‘brain inspired’ data plane encapsulated in a Network Interface Card (NIC) aimed at transforming storage networking to eliminate the I/O performance gap between CPU power and data access performance for HPC, Big Data and data center applications.

The RONNIEE Express data plane profoundly elevates PCI Express from a simple interconnect to a new intelligent network fabric, leveraging the ubiquity and standardization of PCIe while solving its inherent performance bottlenecks. A3CUBE’s In-Memory Network technology, for the first time, allows direct shared non-coherent global memory across the entire network, enabling global communication based on shared memory segments and direct load/store operations between the nodes. The result is the lowest possible latency, massive scalability and disruptive performance that is orders of magnitude beyond the capabilities of today’s network technologies including, Ethernet, InfiniBand and Fibre Channel.

a3cube

We spoke with the company’s Emilio Billi, CTO and founder of San Jose-based startup, A3Cube, who has picked up a thing or two over the last twenty years of addressing a range of performance bottlenecks at the storage and network levels. In addition to developing the HiDRA “personal supercomputing” and companion code, he helped develop the HyperTransport Consortium’s HyperShare scalable network technology and remains one of the leads behind that effort.

With his new company out of stealth and rushing headlong into a well-established storage and network ecosystem to serve the needs of both HPC and demanding big data environments, he admits that they’re up against some challenges. However, he makes the argument that A3Cube’s technology, which uses PCIe as the interconnect via an enhanced NIC card, can alter the price, performance, and programmability of modern HPC and data-intensive systems.

Billi says that five years ago, when he began work on A3Cube’s host of technology, he was looking for a way to combine storage, compute and fit this within the massively parallel analytics software that’s coming.  As he explained, doing this demanded the creation of “a 3D torus network interconnection data plane (it’s more of a data plane than an interconnection network) that has all the characteristics of supercomputing fabric but was designed specifically to create a massively parallel storage architecture.”

The argument is that storage systems need to take the leap from a few standalone engines to thousands of individual storage devices running in parallel to address the needs of true scale-out storage. This is managed by the PCIe-based approach they call the RONNIEE in-memory network.

As he describes, this is a completely new paradigm for networks that provides a whole application with transparent memory-to-memory direct connections. This “in-memory network discards the protocol stack bottleneck involve in remote memory access, which cuts the latency down even for user-level software.” The key is that the TCP/UPD stack is snatched from view and replaced with their own memory-to-memory mapped TCP/UDP socket as the performance hinge. He says it’s still possible to use RDMA if desired, but they’re adding to ease of programmability by the abstraction.

In other news…

Maxeler and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and are collaborating in a project funded by the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills to install the next generation of supercomputing technology in a new facility at the Daresbury Laboratory focusing on energy efficient supercomputing and offering orders of magnitude improvement in performance and efficiency to enable UK industry to have the edge in using a technology designed for the move towards Exascale computing.

The dataflow supercomputer will feature Maxeler developed MPC-X nodes capable of an equivalent 8.52TFLOPs per 1U and 8.97 GFLOPs/Watt, a performance per Watt that tops the Green500 today. MPC-X nodes build on the previous generation technology from Maxeler deployed at JP Morgan where real-time risk computation equivalent to 12000 x86 cores was achieved in 40U of dataflow engines. The new MPC-X supercomputer will be available in Summer 2014 and will focus on medical imaging and healthcare data analytics, manufacturing, industrial microscopy, large scale simulations, security, real-time operations risk, and media/entertainment.

Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences has received a multimillion dollar IBM Supercomputer that will place NSU’s research at the forefront of computational biology, data mining, graphic visualization and software engineering.

Each of the 32 nodes will sport 16 Power CPU’s with 256 GB of RAM.  Each CPU has two processor units that can run two threads each. The machine is water-cooled using internal chilled plates and a rear cooling door on each rack. The software stack consists of AIX, General Parallel File System (GPFS), C++, Fortran, IBM Parallel Environment Runtime (PE), Engineering and Scientific Subroutine Library (ESSL), Parallel Engineering and Scientific Subroutine Library (PESSL), and Tivoli Workload Scheduler LoadLeveler. The university says it will use the system for scientific projects as well as to help train the next generation of HPC skilled graduates.

ScaleMP updates vSMP with Version 5.5 and uses the word “configurator” in a sentence, which is awesome. In addition, new pricing has been announced.

vSMP Foundation Version 5.5 is currently available for download or purchase. Highlights of the latest version include, in addition to the “an open, online configurator”–

  • Enhanced hardware support
  • Broader IO support options with AnyIO subsystem. With AnyIO, customers can enable aggregation with almost any device:
  • Any network device, such as 10GigE cards as well as Infiniband cards
  • PCI-flash devices such as Fusion-IO
  • GPUs/accelerators such as Intel Xeon Phi or NVIDIA GPUs
  • Enhanced private interconnect options
  • Mellanox Connect-IB
  • Improved performance for Intel TrueScale
  • Support for recent Intel Xeon Processors: Ivy Bridge – E5-2600v2 and E7-x8xx v2
  • Enhanced performance for IO-intensive and large-memory workloads
  • New flexible pricing model allowing lower price points

For the Presenter in You…

Just a couple of reminders–Student Cluster Competition Applications Are Now Being Accepted and PRACE 8th Call for Proposals Closes with Larger Allocations on All Systems

Thanks again for tuning in this week—back again Monday with more podcasts, announcements and in-depth features.

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!

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Jan. 12, 2017)

January 12, 2017

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

NSF Seeks Input on Cyberinfrastructure Advances Needed

January 12, 2017

In cased you missed it, the National Science Foundation posted a “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) late last week seeking input on needs for the next generation of cyberinfrastructure to support science and engineering. Read more…

By John Russell

NSF Approves Bridges Phase 2 Upgrade for Broader Research Use

January 12, 2017

The recently completed phase 2 upgrade of the Bridges supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) has been approved by the National Science Foundation (NSF) making it now available for research allocations to the national scientific community, according to an announcement posted this week on the XSEDE web site. Read more…

By John Russell

Clemson Software Optimizes Big Data Transfers

January 11, 2017

Data-intensive science is not a new phenomenon as the high-energy physics and astrophysics communities can certainly attest, but today more and more scientists are facing steep data and throughput challenges fueled by soaring data volumes and the demands of global-scale collaboration. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Remote Visualization: An Integral Technology for Upstream Oil & Gas

As the exploration and production (E&P) of natural resources evolves into an even more complex and vital task, visualization technology has become integral for the upstream oil and gas industry. Read more…

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

UberCloud Cites Progress in HPC Cloud Computing

January 10, 2017

200 HPC cloud experiments, 80 case studies, and a ton of hands-on experience gained, that’s the harvest of four years of UberCloud HPC Experiments. Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Burak Yenier

A Conversation with Women in HPC Director Toni Collis

January 6, 2017

In this SC16 video interview, HPCwire Managing Editor Tiffany Trader sits down with Toni Collis, the director and founder of the Women in HPC (WHPC) network, to discuss the strides made since the organization’s debut in 2014. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

FPGA-Based Genome Processor Bundles Storage

January 6, 2017

Bio-processor developer Edico Genome is collaborating with storage specialist Dell EMC to bundle computing and storage for analyzing gene-sequencing data. Read more…

By George Leopold

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

UberCloud Cites Progress in HPC Cloud Computing

January 10, 2017

200 HPC cloud experiments, 80 case studies, and a ton of hands-on experience gained, that’s the harvest of four years of UberCloud HPC Experiments. Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Burak Yenier

A Conversation with Women in HPC Director Toni Collis

January 6, 2017

In this SC16 video interview, HPCwire Managing Editor Tiffany Trader sits down with Toni Collis, the director and founder of the Women in HPC (WHPC) network, to discuss the strides made since the organization’s debut in 2014. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

Fast Rewind: 2016 Was a Wild Ride for HPC

December 23, 2016

Some years quietly sneak by – 2016 not so much. It’s safe to say there are always forces reshaping the HPC landscape but this year’s bunch seemed like a noisy lot. Among the noisemakers: TaihuLight, DGX-1/Pascal, Dell EMC & HPE-SGI et al., KNL to market, OPA-IB chest thumping, Fujitsu-ARM, new U.S. President-elect, BREXIT, JR’s Intel Exit, Exascale (whatever that means now), NCSA@30, whither NSCI, Deep Learning mania, HPC identity crisis…You get the picture. Read more…

By John Russell

AWI Uses New Cray Cluster for Earth Sciences and Bioinformatics

December 22, 2016

The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), headquartered in Bremerhaven, Germany, is one of the country's premier research institutes within the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, and is an internationally respected center of expertise for polar and marine research. In November 2015, AWI awarded Cray a contract to install a cluster supercomputer that would help the institute accelerate time to discovery. Now the effort is starting to pay off. Read more…

By Linda Barney

Addison Snell: The ‘Wild West’ of HPC Disaggregation

December 16, 2016

We caught up with Addison Snell, CEO of HPC industry watcher Intersect360, at SC16 last month, and Snell had his expected, extensive list of insights into trends driving advanced-scale technology in both the commercial and research sectors. Read more…

By Doug Black

KNUPATH Hermosa-based Commercial Boards Expected in Q1 2017

December 15, 2016

Last June tech start-up KnuEdge emerged from stealth mode to begin spreading the word about its new processor and fabric technology that’s been roughly a decade in the making. Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. Read more…

By John Russell

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

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

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. 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

New Genomics Pipeline Combines AWS, Local HPC, and Supercomputing

September 22, 2016

Declining DNA sequencing costs and the rush to do whole genome sequencing (WGS) of large cohort populations – think 5000 subjects now, but many more thousands soon – presents a formidable computational challenge to researchers attempting to make sense of large cohort datasets. Read more…

By John Russell

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

Deep Learning Paves Way for Better Diagnostics

September 19, 2016

Stanford researchers are leveraging GPU-based machines in the Amazon EC2 cloud to run deep learning workloads with the goal of improving diagnostics for a chronic eye disease, called diabetic retinopathy. The disease is a complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness if blood sugar is poorly controlled. It affects about 45 percent of diabetics and 100 million people worldwide, many in developing nations. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Dell Knights Landing Machine Sets New STAC Records

November 2, 2016

The Securities Technology Analysis Center, commonly known as STAC, has released a new report characterizing the performance of the Knight Landing-based Dell PowerEdge C6320p server on the STAC-A2 benchmarking suite, widely used by the financial services industry to test and evaluate computing platforms. The Dell machine has set new records for both the baseline Greeks benchmark and the large Greeks benchmark. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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