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.

Dive deep into our liquid cooling chat. Just the thing for sticky summers

HPC blog + vid I recently had a conversation with Pat McGinn, product manager at Cool IT. Fortunately I recorded our chat, then matched it up with some slides to package it into a webcast. Cool IT webcast mixdown In the video, Pat and I talk about the strengths and weaknesses of four types of liquid cooling. We also talk benefits, including …
A re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg

ISC 2015 offers up an architectural clash, so let battle commence

HPC Blog The stage is set for an unprecedented architectural melee at the upcoming ISC 2015 Student Cluster Competition, in Frankfurt. For the first time, a student team will be bringing an ARM-based cluster to what has previously been an all-x86 competition. (For the rare individual who doesn’t know about student cluster competitions …
ATERUI Supercomputer

Clever cluster-wrangling proto-boffins told to set their LAMMPS on PyFR

HPC Blog As the kickoff for the ISC’15 student cluster-building competition approaches, it’s a good time to take a look at what the undergrads will actually be doing. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the format of this specific competition, in which students are challenged to build and benchmark HPC systems from scratch against …

Lugging an HPC cluster to the plane as carry-on luggage? DON'T

HPC Blog In our most recent article, we took a look at the US-based SC14 Student Cluster Competition university teams who are intent on keeping the SC crown firmly in the good ol' US of A. As usual, the SC competition attracted a wide variety of student teams from around the world. At SC14, we interviewed almost all of them to give you …

Pimp my cluster: GPUs, liquid nitrogen and AAAAAH! ..that new compiler smell

HPC Blog In this article, we're going to take a closer look at the teams that competed in the historic SC14 Student Cluster Competition. As usual, it's a wide mix of returning champions, veteran teams pushing to join the elite, and completely new teams who are trying to figure out what they hell they're doing. (For some background, click …
spiders crawl through tunnel of binary numbers

STUDENT RACK WARS: Science and HPC – all the kids are doing it these days

HPC blog It’s well past the time to discuss and analyse what happened at the exciting seventh annual Student Cluster Competition, which took place at SC14 in New Orleans late last year. Just after SC14 closed, I took a long trip to South Africa to cover its CHPC cluster competition – the intra-country bout that has spawned its ISC’13 and …
Mississippi River Lock and Dam number 7 with the I-90 Mississippi River bridge downstream. Image: Public Domain

Cluster-grappling kids clash: Battle of the Big Iron in the Big Easy

HPC Blog Two hundred years after the first Battle of New Orleans*, we saw the third, and perhaps most important, tussle the city has ever seen. I am, of course, referring to the SC14 Student Cluster Competition (here's a quick guide on how the youngsters' HPC battles work). This is the seventh time that university students have battled …
Shot of a lady with a "Nice Rack" t-shirt

Revealed: This year's STUDENT RACK WARS winner

HPC blog While I had posted detailed results of the ISC’14 Summer Cluster Slam (here and here), I just realized that I had neglected to put out the final standings and analysis. This makes me an idiot. (Well, not only this, there are a lot of other things that contribute to that assessment as well.) First the big surprise: Team South …

SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION

HPC Blog As I walked past one of the booths on the GTC’14 trade show floor, I suddenly had the nagging feeling that I had missed something. I couldn't figure out why, but this particular booth was familiar. On closer examination, I still didn’t see anything to explain my feeling. I didn’t know either of the guys manning the booth, and …
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Converge THIS: Network titan Cisco on how to VDI in 10 days

HPC Blog Thinking about virtualising your desktops? Want to run all those sessions in your data centre and simply broadcast the screen and UI out to whatever device your users desire? There are a lot of vendors out there who are looking to ease your shift into VDI (virtualized desktop infrastructure), helping to figure out how much …
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HPC ace grills vendor over virtual desktop flavours: What about the POWER USERS?

HPC blog The idea that you can run a bunch of user desktop sessions on servers isn’t new. The benefits promised by desktop virtualisation are pretty profound, including large reductions in enterprise tech costs, better support for users, improved security and even increased user happiness. That last promise, the increased user …

Pimp my HPC cluster: Luscious cores, GPU gravy, optimised apps...

HPC blog You’ve pimped out your fancy new HPC cluster with the latest technology, each node jammed to the gills with shiny new CPUs, loads of memory, and maybe even a double brace of GPUs or other accelerators. The installation work is done, and users are getting their first shot at the system. The performance boost on the new box is …

IBM, backing away from hardware? NEVER!

HPC Blog So, it looks like IBM has moved its chipworks over to Globalfoundries, as described by Reg hack Tim Worstall here. But what are the implications for IBM's systems business? I agree that the brutal and implacable economics of the chip business forced IBM’s hand here. Manufacturing microprocessors is a hugely capital intensive …
Appro LLNL Edge Cluster

Enough with the rack-grappling, kids. Try this MYSTERY app

HPC blog The organisers of the ISC Student Cluster Competitions (here's a quick guide on how these HPC battles work) are a wily bunch. Theirs was the first competition to throw a “mystery application” at the student teams, forcing them to optimise an unfamiliar workload on the fly. The teams only have a few hours to learn the mystery …

Rookie southies S Korea and S Africa prep for cluster-wrestling match

HPC Blog Rounding out the field for the recent ISC14 Student Cluster Competition in Leipzig are two semi-experienced teams that both have “South” in their names. Even though Team South Africa and Team South Korea are separated by a large amount of land and water, these two teams do have some things in common. Both of these teams have …
IBM's System x3630 M3 server

Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time

HPC blog This article and the ones following it are the most comprehensive and in-depth analysis of a cluster competition that the world has ever seen. If you can find better coverage, then I'll eat a handful of spider webs. Let's dive into the results from the benchmark and HPC application portion of the ISC14 Student Cluster …
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Scotland wins WORLD RECORD as voters head to referendum polls

HPC blog The LINPACK portion of the ISC’14 Student Cluster Competition (LINK) was supposed to be routine, according to the cluster competition wise guys. Sure, some student team might set a new record, but no one was expecting the new mark to break through the 10 TFLOP/s barrier. Almost everyone expected the LINPACK crown to go to one …
Team Boston at the ISC student cluster competition

American HPC cluster kids feed data-nomming beast with fat nodes

HPC Blog Two student teams from the United States travelled to the ISC’14 Student Cluster Competition in Leipzig, Germany to defend the red, white and blue – and, perhaps, to bring the ISC cluster Chalice of Victory* to the US for the first time. University of Colorado: ISC’14 marks the record-breaking eighth time Colorado has competed …

China sends THREE teams to HPC whizzkid shindig in Germany

HPC Blog China was solidly represented at the ISC’14 Student Cluster Competition in Leipzig, sending three teams to compete for the legendary "Cluster Cup". Two of the teams fought their way through the Asian Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC14), topping 10 other Chinese university teams to get their ticket punched for the Leipzig …

Hot students, 'liquid coolant', bagpipes and Brazilians: It's a cluster compo, folks

HPC Blog Both the UK and South America were ably represented at the recent 2014 International Supercomputing Conference Student Cluster Competition, held in Leipzig, Germany. For some reason, I want to Google up trendy cuisine to see if Scottish-Brazilian fusion restaurants actually exist. But I'm afraid of the possible results – so let' …

They're not a travelling polka band, they're German HPC kids packing Big Iron

HPC blog Home country Germany was well represented at the recent Student Cluster Competition at the 2014 International Supercomputer Show in Leipzig, Germany. Part of the task for students is to find a vendor partner and work with them to put together the best cluster for the event. Of course, the next difficult bit is making sure the …

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

HPC blog 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?

HPC blog 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 …

Gung-ho Guangzhou college kids smash LINPACK cluster record

HPC blog 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!

HPC blog 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 …