This Week in HPC News

By Nicole Hemsoth

March 20, 2014

As we prepare to head out to the GPU Technology Conference this weekend (we’ll be reporting from the event in San Jose next week), we’re looking back, as we do each Friday morning, at the week in news. While the news cycle was lighter than usual, there were a few items of broader importance to this community, particularly in terms of the shape of the Top 500.

Speaking of the list, we’re looking forward to seeing what’s new at ISC just a few short months from now. The organizers have just announced that computational biologist and physicist, Dr. Klaus Schulten, will deliver the opening keynote in Leipzig. Also of interest, Dr. Satoshi Matsuoka, who will be in even higher demand than usual given some recent revelations about Japan’s exascale plans, will present on the “Convergence of Supercomputing and Next Generation ‘Extreme’ Big Data.”

Another important event, BDEC, in Japan rounded out recently, which means that we finally have a solid sense of where Japan and China are heading with their efforts on both the 100+ petaflop supercomputer and exascale system fronts. Details from the United States and Europe were shared by leading figures in the DoE, PRACE and elsewhere although there is not a great deal of new progress other than to show steady movement toward the early 2020 goals previously identified. If you haven’t already, take a look at both feature articles on the Japanese and Chinese supercomputing visions for 2015 and beyond.

tainhe2While it might suck some of the mystery out of the coming Top 500 winners (although who knows, there could be some secret system that pounds onto the scene from commercial or other entities), it’s definitely useful to see how the world is wrapping its arms around national petascale and exascale initiatives. We’re still getting details on some of the specifics of the proposed 100 petaflop iteration of Tianhe-2 and info on the accelerator, interconnect, and general processor for Japan’s exascale beast but we’ll share more as we confirm details.

In some of our other conversations this week, we checked in with a researcher who pushed a commercial engineering code to record heights on the Blue Waters supercomputer, discussed comprehensive performance analysis in the wake of increasingly complex and data-laden systems, drilled down on another optimization and accounting layer for large-scale storage infrastructure, and checked in with one of the lead researchers behind the ECC performance price for GPU research effort following a popular article on the same topic. The themes these last seven days, as you might have summarized already, are definitely centered around optimization, performance and efficiency analysis, and of course, preparing for unprecedented scale in terms of systems, storage and applications.

475982625In Other Top News

Cray has secured a contract with the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital (HKSH) to provide an XC30 supercomputer – the first XC30 system in China. One of the largest private hospitals in Hong Kong, HKSH will use its Cray XC30 system to further medical research in the areas of bioinformatics and next generation sequencing (NGS).

“The Cray supercomputer will advance our mission to provide the best care for our patients and improved outcomes for people worldwide,” said Mr. Wyman Li, Manager (Administration) of HKSH. “The XC30 supercomputer will greatly increaseour gene sequencing capabilities, enabling us to deliver healthcare innovations even faster.”

Bull is set to deliver Poland’s largest warm water-cooled supercomputer, for the national center for nuclear research.

The infrastructure will be cooled using the world’s most eco-efficient system, which relies on warm water. The technology will save the Swierk Data Center some €120,000 a year. The new system – to be delivered following a bidding process that began last summer –will be provided by Bull Poland, a subsidiary of the Bull Group, the European leader in supercomputers.

SPEC’s High-Performance Group (SPEC/HPG) has released SPEC ACCEL V1.0, a new benchmark suite that measures the performance of systems using hardware accelerator devices and supporting software.

SPEC ACCEL tests performance with a suite of computationally intensive parallel applications running under the OpenCL and OpenACC APIs (application programming interfaces).  SPEC/HPG expects to extend the suite in the future to include applications running under the OpenMP API. SPEC ACCEL  exercises the performance of the accelerator, host CPU, memory transfer between host and accelerator, support libraries and drivers, and compilers. Performance results are recorded as the geometric mean of normalized ratios from testing with base and/or peak tuning.  Energy consumption is measured in the same manner.

Bright Computing announced future products designed to manage HPC and Hadoop clusters as well as manage OpenStack private clouds. The first product in the new lineup — Bright Cluster Manager 7 for HPC — will ship on March 26, 2014.

Focused on the technical computing customer, Bright Cluster Manager 7 features enhanced dynamic cloud provisioning capabilities that use Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources more efficiently to reduce customer costs. It also has a software image revision-control feature, and full support for Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers. Bright’s cloud utilization feature now enables the use of native Amazon Web Services (AWS) storage services (S3 and Glacier).

Get Involved

Apply Now for the ACM/IEEE-CS George Michael Memorial HPC Fellowship

HPCS 2014 Issues Call for Papers and Participation

XSEDE14 Deadline for Submissions Extended

On the Road

Adaptive Computing Announces Moabcon 2014 Conference

Early-Bird Registration Opens for ISC

We’ll be covering several events in the coming weeks, including, as mentioned previously, GTC 14’ in San Jose, the IDC User Forum meeting in Santa Fe, HPC on Wall Street (check EnterpriseTech for more detailed coverage that week) and more. We’ll also be bringing remote news from the Newport Conference and the HPC Advisory Council’s Lugano event.  Before we know it, we’ll be rounding the bend into our own Leverage Big Data event in San Diego and then off to ISC 14’ in Leipzing followed by a visit to TeraTec in France the week after.

As a reluctant connoisseur of those horrid little brown sugar bricks Delta calls “cookies” I’ll be getting my fill over the next few months. Much travel, but much excitement. Look forward to talking with you all in person—safe travels.

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