This Week in HPC News

By Nicole Hemsoth

April 11, 2014

Happy Friday to all…

It was a pleasure talking with some of you this week in Santa Fe during the IDC HPC User Forum, where we were on hand for a number of presentations about current and future projects in supercomputing at national labs, commercial shops, and some notable combinations of both. Being back at a reasonable altitude is a relief, but it would have been just fine if the User Forum was extended another day. They manage to pack a lot of small presentations into a short timeframe—one leaves feeling a sense of total “check in” with the market. Great networking and full of valuable data and insight without the strain of choosing between different “tracks” that (try not to) overlap.

IDC_User_ForumOne of the themes for this 52nd User Forum event was the role of industrial partnerships. We were able to get an insider view into progress at a number of centers, including NCSA (Merle Giles gave a rousing presentation about their work with iForge and commercial partners), TeraTec, and others. Overall, these partnerships seem to bring a great deal of value to the end users in terms of offering them platforms to develop with expert assistance and for smaller companies to get their first taste of HPC for their applications. We’ll be bringing a story based on the TeraTec presentation early next week as it represents another side to how these partnerships play out in a European context.

Aside from gathering info from the thematic topic around commercial partners, we were also able to get a peek into some upcoming systems (although nothing official yet), including NERSC8 and the Trinity machines. Details are set to be publicly released on both of these soon, but the early discussions at the User Forum were focused on building systems designed around real application needs.  These needs don’t look much different than they were five years ago, but the volume around I/O bottlenecks and power was turned up.

And while we were there, the news cycle hit a nice pace again following a brief lull in mid-March. Before getting into the top news picks of the week, a quick pointer…

We’re quite certain many of you have already seen this, but what better way to spend your weekend than digging into the FastForward2 Request for Proposals? Certainly looking forward to seeing what those will bring down the line.

This Week’s Top News Items

crayLogo120x60Cray has been awarded a contract to deliver a Cray Tiered Adaptive Storage (TAS) solution to the North German Supercomputing Alliance (HLRN). Cray TAS is an open storage and archiving solution for big data and high performance computing environments, and gives HLRN a long-term data management solution for its High Performance Computing Center (RRZN) located at Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany.

This Cray TAS installation consists of more than one petabyte of data storage and is upgradeable to more than 75 petabytes within the delivered architecture. For RRZN, Cray says TAS provided a fast path to move from its existing Oracle SAM-QFS installation to Cray TAS without a lengthy data migration period.

Fujitsu announced immediate availability of its PRIMEQUEST 2000 series, comprised of five models, featuring the latest Intel Xeon Processor E7 v2 family.


The PRIMEQUEST 2000 series is comprised of five models in the categories above.

Fujitsu was in the news in another announcement this week, following news that it has received an order for a new supercomputer system from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The core of the new system will be the successor model of the FUJITSU Supercomputer PRIMEHPC FX10, which is currently under development. The new system will have an overall theoretical peak performance of 3.4 petaflops, or 24 times that of the current system, which will ensure that JAXA has the processing capacity needed to analyze enormous volumes of data.

The new system will be deployed in phases, with a portion of operations beginning in October 2014, and full-scale operations expected from April 2016.

NSFA new, $1 million NSF grant will enable engineers at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), the National Institute for Computational Sciences, the Pennsylvania State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create a new tool for high-volume scientific users to achieve faster data transfers over Internet2.

The Developing Applications with Networking Capabilities via End-to-End SDN (DANCES) project will add network bandwidth scheduling capability to the network infrastructure and the supercomputing applications used by the collaborating sites. The DANCES team will develop and integrate file system, scheduling and networking software along with advanced networking hardware. Their aim is to prevent “Big Data” users who are transferring vast amounts of data from being slowed or even halted by periodic surges in competing network traffic.

185265509Internet2 has announced the creation of the Internet2 Program Advisory Group for High Performance and Research Computing and the inaugural co-chairs and members. Inaugural members include co-chairs Jim Bottum, Chief Information Officer, Clemson University and Internet2 Inaugural Presidential Fellow and David Lifka, Director, Center for Advanced Computing and Associate Chief Information Officer, Cornell University.

ARM has announced the availability of version 6 of the ARM Compiler, the reference code generation toolchain for the ARM architecture. ARM Compiler 6 adopts the Clang and LLVM open source compiler framework, channeling contributions from the whole ARM community to push code quality, performance and power efficiency of software on ARM processors.

“ARM has invested heavily in the development and adoption of open source technologies such as Eclipse, GNU and Clang and LLVM,” said Hobson Bullman, general manager of development solutions, ARM. “The ARM Compiler 6 extends this investment even further, bringing together the velocity of open source development with the stability and services that come with commercial products, creating a best-case scenario for ARM’s customers.”

Our congratulations to Ms. Irene Qualters, who has been appointed to the position of Division Director for the Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) at the National Science Foundation, effective April 6, 2014. In this role, Irene will lead ACI in its mission to support and coordinate the prototyping, development, acquisition, and provisioning of state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure resources, tools, and services essential to the advancement and transformation of science and engineering.

On the Road

NCSA Presents Blue Waters Symposium for Petascale Science and Beyond

PRACE Scientific and Industrial Conference

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