Features

Cray Revises FY16 Forecast, Citing Chip Delays, Market Slowdown, Smoke

Aug 4, 2016 |

Cray’s annual revenue projections took a hit on Tuesday as processor delays, market uncertainties, and a recent “smoke event” lead the supercomputing company to reduce its FY16 guidance by $175 million. Cray now expects total yearly revenue to be in the $650 million range, down from its previous estimate of $825 million. In 2015, the company had a banner year: booking $724.7 million up from $561.6 million in 2014. Read more…

IBM Phase Change Device Shows Promise for Emerging AI Apps

Aug 3, 2016 |

IBM Research today announced a significant advance in phase-change memristive technology – based on chalcogenide-based phase-change materials – that IBM says has the potential to achieve much higher neuronal circuit densities and lower power in neuromorphic computing. Also, for the first time, researchers demonstrated randomly spiking neurons based on the technology and were able to detect “temporal correlations in parallel data streams and in sub-Nyquist representation of high-bandwidth signals.”

The announcement coincided with the publishing of a paper, Stochastic phase-changing neurons, in Nature Nanotechnology. Read more…

MPI Is Not Perfect … Yet

Aug 3, 2016 | The Message Passing Interface (MPI) is the standard definition of a communication API that has underpinned traditional HPC for decades. The message passing programming represents distributed-memory hardware architectures using processes that send messages to each other. When first standardised in 1993-4, MPI was a major step forward from the many proprietary, system-dependent, and semantically different message-passing libraries that came before it. Read more…

D.C. Workshop Strives to Keep NSCI Flame Burning and Growing

Aug 1, 2016 |

Last Friday, almost exactly one year after President Obama’s Executive Order establishing the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), the Office of Science and Technology Policy held a workshop in Washington D.C. ostensibly to celebrate NSCI accomplishments so far – and there are many. Just as important, the meeting sought to (re)energize NSCI’s diverse stakeholders, many of whom were early enthusiastic supporters but have become wary because of a perceived lack of action to implement NSCI. Read more…

Transistors Won’t Shrink Beyond 2021, Says Final ITRS Report

Jul 28, 2016 | The final International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) is now out. The highly-detailed multi-part report, collaboratively published by a group of international semiconductor experts, offers guidance on the technological challenges and opportunities for the semiconductor industry through 2030. One of the major takeaways is the insistence that Moore's law will continue for some time even though traditional transistor scaling (through smaller feature sizes) is expected to hit an economic wall in 2021. Read more…

“Stream”-lining the Scientific Process at XSEDE

Jul 28, 2016 | Indiana University and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have announced that Jetstream, the first-ever NSF-supported cloud resource for science and engineering research, will go into full operations as of September 1. But Jetstream is not your typical HPC supercomputer. “NSF, the IU Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI), and our many partners are embarking on a journey to operate a system that is both a production cloud and a first of a kind pilot project,” said IU's Craig Stewart. Read more…

New File System from PSC Tackles Image Processing on the Fly

Jul 25, 2016 |

Processing the high-volume datasets, particularly image data, generated by modern scientific instruments is a huge challenge. Last week, a team of researchers from the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center reported a novel approach to coping with the data flood – the Virtual Volume File System (VVFS) – which they say significantly reduces storage capacity requirements and facilitates on-the-fly processing to minimize I/O traffic and latency limitations.

Although the researchers developed VVFS capabilities with a life sciences use case (electron microscopy datasets of mouse brains) in mind, they noted the challenge spans many domains such as astronomy, physics, materials science, geology, biology, and engineering. Read more…

Diversity Shines at XSEDE16 Conference

Jul 25, 2016 |

The first five years of the NSF-funded XSEDE project culminated in an exciting and enlightening week’s worth of technical talks and presentations about high-performance computing (HPC) services and resources. The conference where these were showcased also gave underrepresented groups an opportunity to be exposed to HPC and a plethora of experts in nearly every field of research.

The XSEDE16 Conference was held in Miami, July 17-21, at the Intercontinental Miami hotel. Read more…

DANCES with Big Data: Progress Update from XSEDE Meeting

Jul 22, 2016 |

Moving large datasets around HPC networks such as those of XSEDE is often challenging. While Internet2, the most commonly used backbone, is fast at 100GBS, local traffic to campuses often slows to 10GBS. At this week’s XSEDE meeting the DANCES (Developing Applications with Networking Capabilities via End-to-End SDN) project leaders reported first successful testing of hardware components needed as well as results of vendor bakeoff for switches. Read more…

Report Addresses the Perils of Dark Silicon

Jul 21, 2016 | Dark silicon refers to the processing potential that's lost when thermal constraints disallow full CPU utilization. The gap between transistor scaling and voltage scaling combined with tighter integration of components (multicore, SoCs) has power density ramifications that are of particular concern for embedded computing, but high-performance computing faces similar "dark power" challenges. Bringing attention to this issue and exploring common solutions was the goal of the Dagstuhl Seminar 16052, “Dark Silicon: From Embedded to HPC Systems.” Read more…