Feeds
Dan Olds is the owner and founder of Gabriel Consulting Group, a technology analysis and consulting firm based in Beaverton, Oregon. He pays particularly close attention to how technology continues to fundamentally transform both business and science.

HPC kids: Give us your power-sipping, your data-nomming, your core laden clusters

Let’s look at what the teams were running at the ISC’14 Student Cluster Competition. This year, we had perhaps the widest variety of systems in terms of size, and also an entirely new configuration that we hadn’t seen in any competition to date. The Mass Green team, with students from MIT, Bentley University, and Northeastern …

ISC’14: Ever wanted to build data-crunching beast to beat them all?

The ISC’14 Student Cluster Competition closed out last week in Leipzig. What a ride... It was an outstanding competition, with story lines straight from Hollywood. If John Hughes were still making movies, he’d be writing the script and shopping it around the big studios right now. (For those of you who don’t know what a Student …

Gung-ho Guangzhou college kids smash LINPACK cluster record

It was the plucky home team from the capital of Guangdong which grabbed the crown and cash at this year's Asian Supercomputer Conference (ASC) Student Challenge. The students from Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University screamed happily when they saw the results from the LINPACK portion of the ASC’14 Student Supercomputer Challenge …
In China, presumably they call cables noodles, not spaghetti

High power computing and awesome Chinese food? Sign me up!

Have a look at the last of the 16 teams that competed at the ASC14 Student Cluster Competition in Guangzhou, China. Team Korea (Ulan Institute of Science & Technology) is a second time competitor at ASC. As you’d expect, the first student I talk to from the team is, of course, Spanish. I was wondering if he was actually with …

Young cluster wrestlers find 'hidden' sweet spot

Cluster-wrestling kids are still battling it out at the Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC) and Team Shanghai (from Shanghai Jiao Tong University) is hoping to get lucky their second time around. In their first outing, the team did OK, but wasn’t a big winner. However, that same team has travelled to Guangzhou and they …

Video: Whatever you do, DON'T BREAK Tianhe-2

It's mostly cluster-building, processor-fumbling fun, but there will also be a few tenser moments for the teams of students attending the ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge. First, there's the competitive aspect... and then there's the fact that they'll be expected to run code on the 33,862.7 TFlop/s Tianhe-2 supercomputer: …

Brazilian whacks fast pipes on racks – and more in our student video special

ASC14 logo Welcome to the second batch of video profiles of the sixteen university teams competing for supercomputing glory at the ASC14 student cluster-building competition. China’s NUDT (National University of Defense Technology) is another team that could take home the ASC14 cluster crown and cash. (There’s no real crown, …

Find a partner? Nah, these students ALL play with same tools in giant CLUSTER-SHUCK

One of the major differences between the recently completed Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge and the other major international competitions is the way the students get their clustering gear. In the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) and the SC competitions, part of the task for students is to find a vendor partner …

Experienced HPC compo kids welcome eager Brazilians to cluster-wrestling match

In our last story, we looked at the local Chinese undergrads who are competing for cluster-building glory at the Asian Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC14) in Guangzhou, but there are plenty of competitors who are keen to grab the title and take it home – to the United States, steamy Brazil or even to the slopes of the Urals …

Junior gurus go gung-ho in Guangzhou: Meet the students putting a boot in clusters' thrusters

That question everyone is asking: who are the undergrads competing for cluster-building glory at the Asian Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC14) in Guangzhou this week? It’s a mixed slate of former cluster competition champions, wannabes, and newbies from almost every continent on Earth. First, make sure you're up to speed on …

Sixteen hot students, 3 kilowatts, $29k in CASH: It's cluster combat, China style

We're in Guangzhou, China, for the final round of the largest student cluster competition in the world. And to make it even more tense, there's nearly $28k up for grabs... The third annual Asian Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC14) features sixteen university-backed teams from around the globe, competing to see which team …
T Platforms GPU Blade

Sod Bitcoin - solving graph problems is the new GPU-flogger

These GTC conferences, the annual GPU-fest sponsored by NVIDIA, are my favorite events of the year. Why? It’s how the event is organized. At GTC, real-world researchers, analysts, and other customers present the vast majority of sessions, not corporate mouthpieces. They talk about their projects, the challenges they’ve dealt …

Need a refresher on virtualisation?

This year at GTC, NVIDIA was pushing its Kepler-based GRID GPU tech to virtualise desktops, enabling a “anything, anywhere, anytime, on any device” usage model, but as a side effect delivered lots of guidance for VDI and virtualisation newbies. GRID was one of the big announcements at GTC12, with demonstrations of the tech's …
WASP-12b getting devoured by its sun

Sun-seeking NASA boffins steer FLEETS of satellites... BY HAND

Looking for something to test your Star Wars video game skills? How about this: launch four satellites and fly them in eccentric orbits around the Earth. Each satellite is 1km apart from its neighbour, which sounds like a lot of space until you consider that they’re travelling at several kilometres per second during the …

HPC boffins: Our HOT MODELS will help you cope with DISASTER

What’s the most common and costly type of natural disaster? If you answered "floods and tsunamis” you’d be right on the money. Economic damages caused by large and small flooding events – either caused by storms, storm surges or earthquakes, in the case of tsunamis – are truly massive, running into the billions or tens of …

Get ready for software-defined RADAR: Jam, eavesdrop, talk and target ... simultaneously

With a big RF transmitter and enough fast computing power, you have the ability to do a lot of different things, as evidenced by a General Electric presentation on "software-defined radar" at the GPU conference this year. At GTC 13 last year, GE gave a standing-room-only presentation about how it's using RDMA (Remote Direct …
REM's Shiny, Happy People

VDI a 'delightful' experience... Really?

The VDI talk was the kind of GTC session I love. It’s where a real-world expert talks about how a difficult task is actually accomplished. Not the theory, not how it should work on paper, but what it takes to actually move a project from Point “A” to Point “We’re done with this”. Ken Fingerlos from Lewan Technology delivered in …
Samsung 500GB SpinPoint 2.5in HDD

Traditional RAID is outdated and dying on its feet

The video below is an interview I did with IBM storage guru Robert Murphy at SC13 in Denver. I’m still in catch-up mode after my recent near-disastrous rootkit episode. Youtube Video In the video, Robert and I talk about how today’s typical RAID mechanisms (1, 5, 6, 10) just aren’t up to the job of protecting data against drive …
Cray Mongolian cluster

Supercomputer maker Cray: Jobs for HPC kids? There might be some going

There are some teens and kids in their twenties who skip out on university courses for a trip abroad with their friends, where they spend days and nights chugging down (caffeine) brew, losing sleep and wrestling with, er, clusters. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing... In fact, it could mean that they'll one day work at Cray …

Reg HPC man relives 0-day rootkit GROUNDHOG DAY

This is a difficult article to write, and I’ve put it off for way too long. But it’s time to bite the bullet and make an embarrassing admission to the Register audience. I’ve been hacked and hacked hard. Admitting this publicly to Reg readers is like chumming shark-infested waters with my own blood. Or like telling people that I …
Windows 9x BSOD

How NOT to evaluate hard disk reliability: Backblaze vs world+dog

A few months ago, Brian Beach, a distinguished engineer at cloud backup joint Backblaze, published a set of study-like blog postings relating to his firm's experiences with hard drive lifespan in its 25,000+ spindle environment. The blogs garnered quite a bit of interest due to the subject matter, and provocative titles like: …

My other supercomputer is a Lenovo: What IBM System x sale means for HPC

Back in May 2013, when IBM was first rumoured to be selling part of its System x division to Lenovo, I wrote a story looking at how this might impact IBM’s position in the HPC market. It’s a good time to revisit that analysis and see what the picture looks like now. As I noted in the prior story, it’s damned hard to get solid …
IBM open reel tape and 3480 cartridge compared

Lenovo and IBM's System x biz: It'll be just like 2005's PC buyout

It was only eight months ago when the industry was rife with rumours that IBM was selling all or part of their x86 business to Lenovo. It took a while, but the deal has gone down and it’s now up to the lawyers and accountants to finalize the paperwork. This deal has turned out to be (way) more comprehensive than anticipated. …

There can be only one SC13 student cluster champion team. And it is...

Team Longhorn from the University of Texas won the Overall Championship Award in the Big Iron division of the SC13 student cluster-constructing competition in Denver. Now that the dust has settled on the contest – which challenges undergraduates to build and benchmark HPC rigs against the clock – here's the lowdown on the …

What happens when you give undergrads $2,500 to build a HPC rig out of commodity parts? This...

The team from Bentley University and Northeastern University took the first ever Commodity Track Overall Championship award at the recently concluded SC13 Student Cluster Competition. In this competition, student teams had to build a true HPC cluster (at least two nodes), while spending a maximum of $2,500. After building and …

China's supercomputing whizzkids: Busting out a 8.224 teraflops cluster? Guilty as charged

China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) grabbed the LINPACK award at the recently concluded SC13 Student Cluster Competition. NUDT topped all other competitors with a score of 8.224 TFLOP/s. NUDT’s LINPACK win isn’t a surprise to competition observers, the team hails from the home of Tianhe-1 and Tianhe-2, …

Asleep on the job: Students dream of GROPING RACKS after darkness falls

Student Cluster competitions at the annual Supercomputing Conference in Denver, Colorado, are marathons. The students who work their magic on the big iron get a set of scientific applications and some data sets, but they have only 48 hours to submit their best results – all while keeping their self-designed clusters under the 26 …

Where do HPC brainbox students go after ULTIMATE VICTORY?

We’ve been following these student cluster competitions for several years now (since 2010, to be more specific). While we’ve talked about how ambitious and driven these kids are, and how these competitions can open many doors for them, we’ve never asked the seniors what they’re headed towards after they graduate. We’re fixing …

Meet the cluster teams: Can Slippery Rock or Sun Devils burn?

Here's an up close and personal look at two of the four teams that competed in the SC13 Commodity Track Cluster Competition. These teams could build anything their hearts desired as long as the total cost was less than $2,500 (US). University of Slippery Rock (Team Rock) This is the second year that Slippery Rock has fielded a …
Cables

Meet the cluster teams: High schoolers and even more Boston

Four teams brought their $2,500 clusters to SC13 in an effort to prove that they alone can get the most FLOP/s out of their cheap gear. We've already covered the teams from Slippery Rock University and Arizona State, now let's get a gander at the other two teams. Skyline High School (Team Skyline) Team Skyline is the youngest …

Meet the cluster teams: Mass Chowdah and Tennessee Volunteers

Here's our first look at the final two teams who competed in the Standard (Big Iron) Track at the SC13 Student Cluster Competition in Denver. Mass Green (“Team Chowdah”) has competed in two previous SC cluster competitions (Seattle in 2011 and Salt Lake in 2012). It’s a competitive team, but one that hasn’t quite been able to …
Cat 5 cable

Meet the cluster teams: Team Quokka and Team Germany

We had a couple more first time teams competing in the Student Cluster Competition at SC13 in Denver last week. These two teams traveled overseas in an attempt to grab cluster glory and haul it back home. ('Cluster glory' will comfortably fit in the overhead bin on most airplanes.) Team Quokka: This is the nickname for Australia …
cable

Meet the cluster teams: Chinese Fortune Rookies, Team Venus 2.0

Here's another up close and personal look at two of the Standard Track (Big Iron) teams that competed for the SC13 Student Cluster Competition in Denver crown (there still isn't any actual crown, however.) Both teams have competed before, but they're staffed by almost completely new personnel. National University of Defense …

Meet the Cluster teams: Colorado and Texas

Exciting times at the SC13 Student Cluster Competition in Denver this year. Time to take an up close and personal look at two of the most experienced teams in the competition, Colorado and Texas. These teams have distinctly different personas. Colorado teams are usually reserved and businesslike, while Texas teams tend to be a …

Mini-cluster competitor configs revealed

The students in the Commodity Track of the SC13 Student Cluster Competition in Denver faced quite a challenge last week. They had to build at least a dual-node HPC cluster, but could only spend a total of $2,500 on it. There are lots of ways to go. You can get the smallest/cheapest motherboards possible and string a bunch of …
Twisted Metal

BIG IRON cluster warriors put pedal to HOT METAL

We saw an interesting assortment of gear from the teams competing in the SC13 Standard (Big Iron) Track of the Student Cluster Competition. As you can see on the handy table below, the teams had a lot in common on the surface. They all ran some variety of Intel Xeon as their base CPU, most were using Mellanox Infiniband …
Bird's eye view of the proposed new Nvidia HQ

GPU secrets unveiled for student cluster warriors

We’re less than two weeks away from the start of the SC13 Student Cluster Competition in Denver. Right now, the 12 student teams are turning over every rock they can find in their hardware and software stack in an effort to eke (and geek) out every last bit of performance. Time is short. In a week or less, they’ll be packing up …
Moments of perspiration

WTF is WRF? Student cluster-wrestlers cram for app SMACKDOWN

It’s crunch time for the students who will be competing at the SC13 Student Cluster Competition in Denver. The 11 university teams – plus one group of plucky high schoolers – are in cram mode now, trying to figure out how to wring every last bit of performance out of their gear. All teams will be running the same HPC benchmarks …

Excited students, $2,500, quivering racks and dreams of glory

The new "Commodity Track" of the upcoming SC13 Student Cluster Competition has hit a chord with cluster competition aficionados worldwide and Register readers alike. I laid out the terms of this competition in a recent story, and plenty of you weighed in with recommendations on how these kids could get the most HPC bang out of …

Readers! Here's your chance to join the Celebrity Pro-Am Cluster Challenge

For the first time, HPC professionals will compete against the SC13 Student Cluster Competition (SCC) teams in a winner-take-all cluster showdown. The new event, dubbed the “Celebrity Pro-Am Cluster Challenge”, will begin right after the students turn in their last SCC results on Wednesday afternoon, November 20. The Pro-Am …

Number-crunching quant cooks up gambling machine, promises untold RICHES

Have you ever wanted to lay a bet down on the Las Vegas sports books? Or take a bundle of money from the suckers in your office's Final Four betting pool? Is it possible to win sports bets consistently over the long haul? According to the guys at PredictionMachine.com, the answer is yes. Their secret weapon? Numbers, baby – it’s …
Shows a rack of Azul appliances.

Cash-strapped students hungrily eye up old, unloved racks

How much supercomputing can you do with $2,500 worth of hardware? The four teams competing in the SC13 Student Cluster Commodity Track Competition will answer precisely this question - and more. The Commodity Track is a new addition to the SC Student Cluster Competition event this year. We all know and love the Standard Track: …
Predator drone, credit Wikipedia

How were your hols, cluster kids? Oh, partied, studied... did we mention WE BUILT DRONES

Among the five teams who will be defending America’s Big Iron honour at the upcoming Student Cluster Competition (SCC) are a few students who skipped the keg parties to, er, build, fly, program and optimise the performance of unmanned aerial vehicles. These students will do battle, beginning on 18 November at the SC13 conference …

Students schlep from afar to join the quest for international HPC glory

Three teams of students will be jetting in from overseas to enter this year's Student Cluster Competition, due to kick off on November 18 at the annual SC13 Supercomputing Conference.</p? The teams will be competing in the Big Iron division where undergraduate students design, build, and tune their very own HPC clusters. They’ll …
Team Tsinghua, Overall Winners at the ISC 2012 Student Cluster Competition

Students prep for battle of wits, MIPs and watts: It's student cluster-wrestling time

The countdown is on. Twelve university teams are preparing for another epic battle at the student cluster-wrestling match, the SC13 Student Cluster Competition (SCC). The gig will take place during the 2013 Supercomputing Conference in Denver, Colorado, beginning 18 November. The teams will compete on the SC13 exhibition hall …

Cray turns cluster crank with ScaleMP

Does your performance in the datacenter suffer because you don’t have enough memory to really get the job done? Do you have apps that don’t perform well on clusters, or don’t parallelize at all? If this describes you or a loved one, read on, because Cray thinks it has the solution for you. Cray, with partner ScaleMP, recently …

German students get hot 'n' heavy on Coffee Table of Doom

My first look at the Chemnitz University of Technology's “Coffee Table of Doom” entry into the recently concluded ISC’13 student cluster-building challenge really gave me pause for thought. Four very large workstations crammed to the brim with 16 accelerators (eight Intel Phi plus eight NVIDIA K20) was something to behold. Two …

Will Jocks strap on beefy ARMs to grapple rival racks next year?

When the University of Edinburgh decided to enter the gruelling cluster-building competition for students at this year's International Supercomputing Conference, they didn’t have to look far for hardware suppliers eager to feed their need for speed. The server-wrangling undergraduates turned to UK-based businesses Viglen and …

ISC Student Cluster Competition: The kids are alright

Yet another exciting ISC Student Cluster Competition has moved from the ISC'13 exhibit hall battlefield into the annals of history. Now that we've analyzed the results, let's take a look at the victors and their accomplishments. Highest LINPACK ISC Student Cluster Competition LINPACK test results ISC Student Cluster Competition …

Kluster Kamph results sliced, diced, pulverized

With the dust settling on the ISC'13 Student Cluster Challenge, it's a good time to look back, take stock, and see what we've learned. While traveling recently, I found myself unable to type on my laptop keyboard (after the idiot in front of me reclined into my lap), but I found I could still use the handy track point "nub". So …