This Week in HPC News

By Nicole Hemsoth

May 8, 2014

This week has held plenty of news from the vendor and research sides, but revolved around the theme of large-scale simulations and their practical real-world value.

We kicked the week off with some fascinating news about a simulation that stretches back to the galactic past as it looked 13.8 billion years ago. Also on the massive simulation front, there was also some rather astonishing scaling work for engineering codes after a team based at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center pushed their homegrown multiphysics code to the 100,000 core mark on Blue Waters.

neurogrid_graphicContinuing on the simulation theme, we touched on a great many examples of real-world applications on HPC centers across the globe this week, including how centers are examining everything from ozone pollution threats, crash tests and safety, electromagnetic interference, and brain-based networks.

Rounding out the simulation focus for this early May edition was the podcast interview with Jim Ahrens, Visualization Team Leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory. We discussed these problems in the context of what Ahrens calls “cost per insight” and touch on some of the novel ways to make sure that cost is kept as low as possible using in situ analysis and storage, as well as other approaches.

With the practical value of large simulations foremost in mind, we launched into an effort to bring a more focused set of perspectives to HPCwire that kicked off this morning. We hope to complement the specific, focused nature of the many journals devoted to particular topics in HPC by filling out May through ISC with a sharing of research concepts from the community. There is a great deal of detail to be found here. The reception has already been overwhelming, especially from some of our European friends and we look forward to the review process with our own editors and advisory members.

This Week’s Top News Items

Panasas engineer Marcelo Cataldo has been recognized with the Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon. Cataldo’s research has focused on developing and evaluating an analytical framework to assess how compatible the structure of a software development organization is with the technical architecture of the product being developed. The framework also identifies technical and organizational dependencies that may be detrimental to product quality and productivity and assesses how they can be reduced or eliminated.

catalyst_llnlCatalyst, a first-of-a-kind supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), is officially available to industry collaborators to test big data technologies, architectures and applications. Developed by a partnership of CrayIntel and Lawrence Livermore, this Cray CS300 high performance computing (HPC) cluster is available for collaborative projects with industry through Livermore’s High Performance Computing Innovation Center (HPCIC).

A resource for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program, the 150 teraflop/s (trillion floating operations per second) Catalyst cluster has 324 nodes, 7,776 cores and employs the latest-generation 12-core Intel Xeon E5-2695v2 processors. Catalyst runs the NNSA-funded Tri-lab Open Source Software (TOSS) that provides a common user environment across NNSA Tri-lab clusters (Los Alamos, Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national labs).

penguinPenguin Computing introduced its Icebreaker HPC family of scalable, high performance file-system solutions based on EMC VNX and EMC Isilon storage. Currently available with either Lustre or NFS file-systems, the Icebreaker HPC line integrates EMC VNX and EMC Isilon platforms with Penguins standard rack infrastructure in a form factor that Penguin says allows the easy addition of other HPC solutions.

The company also announced this week the immediate availability of MATLAB Distributed Computing Server on its HPC Cloud, POD. MATLAB Distributed Computing Server, providing access to multiple workers that can run computationally intensive MATLAB programs and Simulink models. MATLAB and Simulink users interact with MATLAB Distributed Computing Server through the Parallel Computing Toolbox. Users program parallel applications using the toolbox on their workstations, then push their programs to POD from their local MATLAB session. Application results are returned back to their MATLAB sessions once the parallel processing job has finished on POD.

Fujitsu has rolled out its Eternus DX200F all-flash array that uses solid-state drives for data storage. Fujitsu says it offers extremely low latency of 0.5 milliseconds (ms) or less for I/O-intensive applications, with the item to shorten batch process times and deliver the fast and stable performance. The new product will be available in Japan from May 8, and will be followed by subsequent availability worldwide.

Pluribus Networks has announced a relationship with Super Micro to power its next-generation MicroBlade microserver platform switching blades with the Pluribus Netvisor network operating system. Netvisor is “the industry’s first and only bare-metal, distributed network hypervisor operating system”, enabling the convergence of compute, network, storage and virtualization into a programmable, open-standards-based platform. The Supermicro MicroBlade is a 6U 112 node Intel Atom-based compute and network platform with integrated 10/40 GbE Intel FM5224 Ethernet. The Pluribus Netvisor offers Layer 2+ features and high availability across multiple switch modules within the MicroBlade platform via Netvisor’s fabric-cluster capability.

ISC14_ml_1Also, before we close out the week, take a moment to get geared up for ISC ’14 in Leipzig via an interview from the conference’s Nages Sieslack, who talked to Dr. Satoshi Matsuoka about the emerging role big data will play as the limits of extreme scale computing are pushed. On that note also, if you haven’t already booked a room for the event, it’s looking like there might be limited options available anywhere near the conference site. A few of our sources reported being over 10 miles away—just a heads up.

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!

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

Pioneering Programmers Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

November 30, 2016

In an awards ceremony on November 22, President Barack Obama recognized 21 recipients with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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

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

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