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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.

South African cluster kids represent ENTIRE continent at HPC battle

The 2013 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC’13) Student Cluster Challenge (SCC) in Leipzig will be a truly global competition, with universities from Europe, China and the United States vying for HPC bragging rights and, yes, glory too. Student teams will race their home-built clusters to see who can achieve the …
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Beijing cluster brawlers warm up for undergrad cluster tussle

China’s biggest export in June, at least measured by FLOP/s, could likely be the two teams they’re sending to the second annual Student Cluster Challenge at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC). This is the second major cluster competition of 2013, coming hot on the heels of the recently completed Asia Student …

Buff American beauties keen to dominate Euro youth in tech tussle

Competition at the ISC’13 Student Cluster Challenge will be the fiercest yet. Nine university teams from five continents are building, testing and optimising their own multi-node HPC clusters in preparation for the live face-off that will take place on the ISC’13 show floor in mid-June. During the show, the students will be …

Cluster kids, pick your weapons: It's the Battle of Leipzig 2.0

Napoleon experienced his first defeat* there 200 years ago... Now nine teams of university undergrad students will travel to Leipzig in the hopes of winning the clash of big iron that is the International Supercomputing Conference 2013 (ISC’13) Student Cluster Challenge. Nine teams of university undergrad students will build …
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IBM considers System X surgery: Will it ruin its sexy HPC figure?

The increasing amount of speculation over IBM's potential unloading of all or part of its System x (x86-based servers) business onto Lenovo has high performance computing (HPC) players wondering about the implications for the sector. What would be the eventual impact on IBM, and the HPC market in general, if Big Blue were to …

Red-hot students, an all-day romp and an £11,000 bonanza

Red-hot cluster-building students from Tsinghua University in Beijing stepped up their already high-level game - and took two of the three awards up for grabs at the inaugural Asia Student Cluster Challenge (ASC’13) finals last week in Shanghai. ASC’13 is the first leg in 2013’s Student Cluster Competition Triple Crown - a long- …

Ready for the car 2.0? Nvidia preps UPGRADABLE car system

What’s your next car dashboard going to look like? The answer may well be: however you want it to look. If Nvidia has its way, car manufacturers and owners will have a much wider range of choices when it comes to dashboard displays, navigation sophistication, and personalising the car to the owner. The computer hardware …

It's a CLUSTER-OFF: Asian students prep for tense, live HPC smackdown

The first annual Asia Student Cluster Challenge (ASCC) culminates this week with a final round of competition that brings 10 university teams to Shanghai for a live cluster-off. The teams traveling to Shanghai made it past 32 other universities vying to compete in the live finale. Teams will compete for top benchmark scores on …
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Eerie satnav boffinry claims it can predict THE FUTURE

Do you hate driving in the city? Do you fly into a rage when you can’t find a parking spot after spending hours in heavy traffic on the way to your destination? Do you have trouble deciphering satnav directions while paying attention to your surroundings? Or do you get easily distracted while driving and become a safety threat …
Die shot of Nvidia's 'Kepler2' GK110 GPU chip

63 TRILLION maths ops a second - in 5 inches? Mm, show me

If you need lots of compute power, you’re either already using GPU accelerators or taking a close look at them. And if you’re serious about tapping into the full processing power of the GPU, perhaps this gear will fit the bill. Dubbed the ioMillennia, it’s a 3U, PCIe Gen3 switch from One Stop Systems that can handle sixteen full …

Industry upstart: You know what high-end HPC needs? More DAY-GLO

One of the best things about industry events like the GPU Technology Conference (GTC 2013) is walking around the trade show floor. It gives me a chance to talk to smaller, niche companies who don’t get the media coverage given to the titans of the high-performance computing industry. (Or to Titan the supercomputer, for that …

GE shows off tank-tough tech

Do you have employees who habitually bust up perfectly good tech? These are the people who have a different problem every other week, and they always say, “I don’t know what happened, it just suddenly stopped working. It’s just so weird...” Then they show you a desktop with a motherboard swimming in Coke Classic or a notebook …
The Register breaking news

Scan your branes LIVE IN REAL-TIME, thanks to GPU-surfin' boffins

Let’s say you’re at a gathering – maybe a cocktail party or a crowded club – and some buff athlete shows up on crutches. He immediately becomes the center of attention as he recounts the story of his injury. “Dude, it was gnarly," he bellows so that everyone can hear. "A totally sick shred. Now I’m waitin’ on the MRI results. …
iRobot Roomba 581

Roomba dust-bust bot bods one step closer to ROBOBUTLERS

We know that all of the objects in the picture below are chairs, right? But show this picture to a computer and see what happens. Getting computers to recognise generic objects is a hugely difficult task that’s complicated by variations of the same object (club chairs vs. office chairs vs. folding chairs) and by other objects in …
Nvidia is taking hybrid computing another step forward with its Kayla card

Calm a CARMA drama chameleon: Barça super waves ARMs, GPUs

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a steadily growing buzz surrounding the use of ARM processors in PCs, servers and supercomputers. Here, at this year's GPU Technology Conference in California, that buzz is even more pronounced. This is due to Nvidia's upcoming 64-bit "Project Denver" ARM cores, and advances in its graphics …

Nvidia unveils Minority Report-style face-bot tech

Accurately modeling and rendering the ocean is highly complex from a computational perspective – but it’s considerably harder to portray accurately an artificial simulation of the human face, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang in his opening keynote address at the GTC 2013 conference in San Jose. Human faces contain a …

Nvidia's skirt-chasing chips ogle babes, eyeball Twitter and YouTube

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang’s GPU Technology Conference 2013 keynote was a typical whirlwind slideshow of all the pies the graphics processor maker has its fingers in these days. These addresses are usually chock-full of demonstrations showing where we are in terms of state-of-the-art graphics, scientific and technical computing, …

Cluster padawans vie for place in Shanghai super showdown

The 2013 Student Cluster Competition season is off to a roaring start judging by the high level of interest in the inaugural Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC13), which will kick off in Shanghai in mid-April. Right now, the judges are sorting through the 42 applications submitted by universities from a wide swath of the …

Microwaves thrash fibre on speed... if you like two-nines uptime

“Time? They ain’t making any more of it, so you gotta get in and get out, or you’ll get your f*****g face ripped off,” screamed an old Chicago Merc floor trader at my grad school class during a field trip. I nodded, like the rest of the class, figuring he knew what he was talking about and also not wanting to provoke this human …

Could you build a data-nomming HPC beast in a day? These kids can

Student cluster-building competitions are chock full of technical challenges, both “book learning” and practical learning, and quite a bit of fun too. I mean, who wouldn't want to construct a HPC rig against the clock and kick an opponent in the benchmarks? Here's what involved in the contests. Whether you’ve been following the …

Eager students, huge racks - yes, undergrad cluster wrestling is back

2013 promises to be the breakout year for student cluster-building competitions – the most popular high-performance-computing-related sport in the entire world. As an indication that pitting undergraduates against the clock to construct powerful number-crunchers is now a credible event, last year the International Supercomputing …

Dell: Shhh, don't tell a soul, but the PC sector ISN'T doomed...

Dell’s move to take itself private has the tech world buzzing. There’s a lot of talk about the motives behind the deal. Some say Dell is doing it to escape the quarterly visit to the Wall Street meat grinder, where either you meet (or exceed) their expectations or get ground into a fine slurry. Going private frees Dell of public …
Stacking up chips to make tiny Daleks for the data center

Power-mad HPC fans told: No exascale for you - for at least 8 years

I recently stumbled upon a transcript from a very recent interview with HPC luminaries Jack Dongarra (University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge, Top500 list) and Horst Simon (deputy director at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.) The topic? Nothing less than the future of supercomputers. These are pretty good guys to ask, since they’re …
Stanford's jet-noise simulation needed a milliion cores

Researchers break records with MILLION-CORE calculation

Stanford’s Engineering Center for Turbulence Research (SECTR) has claimed a new record in computer science by running a fluid dynamics problem using a code named CharLES that utilised more than one million cores in the hulking great IBM Sequoia at once. According to the Stanford researchers, it’s the first time this many cores …
NOAA's Startus supercomputer

2012 in supercomputing: Ceepie-geepies, a weak ARM and the need for speed

A lot has happened in HPC over the past year. I would say that the speeding up of development of accelerators and the rising number of hybrid CPU+GPU systems are probably the most noteworthy trends we saw in 2012. Over the next year we’re going to see even more use cases for hybrid systems, and I expect to see much wider use in …

Free HPC cluster to good home

Interested in getting your hands on some serious system hardware for free? Well, with a few provisos, you could get your hands on a nearly new HPC cluster. First off, you'll need to be in the research game - in a US- or Canada-based academic or government lab, or some other non-profit research institution. (We’re talking about …

Vid: EXTREME computer sports: Meet the cluster war winners

The 2012 Student Cluster Competition (SCC) is in the books and we have all of the results, right here, right now. First, as was released earlier, China’s Team NUDT ran away with the Highest LINPACK Award, an SCC record 3.014 Teraflop/s score. Their compatriots, Team USTC, locked in second place with 2.793 Teraflops/s, and the …

HPC cluster cowboys bag overall award, haul it home to Texas

Video I caught up with Team Longhorn just before they turned in their final results for the SC12 Student Cluster Competition (SCC). As you can see in the short video, they’re pretty cool and composed, but I thought I sensed a little bit of anxiety under the surface. As it turns out, they should have been more relaxed – they were …

FINAL NIGHT: Boston kids power down cluster compo systems

Early on the last day of the SC12 Student Cluster Competition, I hit a couple of morning meetings and then went wandering around the competition area. Most of the teams had at least two or three reps in the booths monitoring the systems and just sort of hanging around. They had turned in their final scientific results the night …

Team Utah grabs Mini Iron crown at little cluster compo

Until this year, the annual SC Student Cluster Competition focused entirely on seeing how much work teams of university students could wring out of 26 amps of juice. They can use any hardware/software combination that will run the required apps; the only limitation is that their configuration has to be shipping by the time of …

Team Boilermaker: We hammer the code... not the booze

Video We had a chat with Team Boilermaker on the last day of the SC12 Student Cluster Competition. While the team did visit several of the vendor parties the night before, they assert that they didn’t overindulge, and claim that the absence of some team members is due to meetings, not hangovers. I think I buy that explanation; …

NUDT on HPC battle: Total cluster supremacy - Who needs it?

Video Team NUDT (China’s own National University of Defense Technology) was all smiles when I stopped by their booth on the final day of the SC12 Student Cluster Competition (SCC). And what’s not to smile about? They had just won the LINPACK award with their record-breaking 3 Teraflop/s score and were considered a serious …

Video: High school kids fend off university challenge in student cluster battle

The SC Student Cluster Competition (SCC) has seen university teams from around the world vying to prove their cluster competence. But this year has been marked by a number of firsts, including the first team composed entirely of high school students. The Skyline High School Eagles, located in Salt Lake City, entered the LittleFe …

10,000 cities, 1 salesman, 6 nodes: It's LittleFe cluster CRUNCH TIME

Video It was the last day of last week’s SC12 Student Cluster Competition, and Pennsylvania university students Team Slippery Rock chatted to us during the LittleFe battle. In this competition track, teams of university students (plus a high school team) pushed their six-node LittleFe mini-iron to the limit, attempting to find …

Cluster compo newcomers slap down winning hand: 6 NVIDIA Tesla cards

Video Here’s a short look at what the team from China’s University of Science & Technology was up to on the last day of the SC12 Student Cluster Competition (SCC). There’s a pretty big language barrier here – one that’s made worse by my inability to speak slowly and clearly after drinking a quart of press room coffee. (A note/ …

Comp sci boffins Venus: HPC newbies post respectable score

Video We spent a few minutes on the last day of the SC12 Student Cluster Competition (SCC) talking to Team Venus from the University of the Pacific. This is not only their first year in the cluster competition, but also the first time any of the students have done anything at all HPC-related. Under the mentorship of Oak Ridge …

Team Taiwan: We're ready to win this thing

Video I’ve covered Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) Student Cluster Competition team for three years now. And every time I talk to them they’re personable, friendly, and modest. Very modest. Too modest. This is a team with a serious pedigree that’s backed up by the best track record in the game. First of all, …

Team Venus disappears at computer sports smackdown

Video It was an exciting start to the real-time, non-stop 48-hour cluster challenge, in which the teams of undergrads design and assemble a small cluster and race to demonstrate the greatest sustained performance across a series of applications. Here’s a short video covering the beginning of the SC12 edition of the Student …

Cluster cake pulled open: Oozes cores, GPU gravy, mineral oil

At last, I can reveal the final configurations of the systems the SC12 Student Cluster Competition (SCC) warriors brought to Salt Lake City last week. Here’s the gear they were running… First, kudos to all of the sponsors who generously provided so much equipment at no cost to the cluster crown competitors. (There isn’t a real …

Chinese baby war-boffins bust 3Tflops, snatch student LINPACK crown

Salt Lake City is abuzz with news that China's NUDT team has once again snared the LINPACK benchmark crown at a student cluster-building competition. The team's record-breaking score of 3.014 TFLOPS topped all other competitors and marked the first time a student cluster team has broken through the 3 TFLOPS barrier. This is the …
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Boiler Makers swing hammer at SC12, Team Taiwan tries for a three-peat

Video Team Taiwan (from Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University) has a chance to become a three time Overall Award winner at the SC12 Student Cluster Competition here in Salt Lake City. They notched their first win at SC10 in New Orleans, repeated the feat the next year in Seattle, and are now looking for the hat trick in Salt …

Tianhe-1A schoolkids bring their best game, GPUs to cluster punchup

Video: Here’s a look at one of the two Chinese entries into the SC12 Student Cluster Competition. These kids are from the University of Science and Technology and are not only battling their cluster competitors, but are also fighting jet-lag, 8.5 inches (21cm) of snow, and my inability to speak slowly/clearly enough to be …

Texans forget deep fryer, add GPUs to lasso data-crunching crown

Meet the 2012 edition of the Texas Longhorn Student Cluster Competition team. This video was shot right after they received the scientific application data sets and had begun their initial processing. We discuss how they parcel up the work in their cluster and how they now have tools that give them a much better idea of what …

Snow and ice fail to freeze battlin' Big Iron bots in their tracks

It's time, once again, to meet some more plucky contenders in the SC12 Student Cluster Competition. Team Slippery Rock We meet the Slippery Rock team for the first time. They’re competing in the Mini Iron LittleFe division of the cluster-building contest. In the video they explain their strategy for achieving the best …

Meet the all-girl HPC cluster boffins of 'Team Venus' - on Video

It's time to meet some of the Big Iron cluster war contenders. Team Venus, the all-female Student Cluster Competition (SCC) team from the University of the Pacific, tells us how they found their way into the competition in their profile video below. They also discuss how they’re looking to encourage women to enter STEM ( …

Computer sports betting pool: WIN PILES OF virtual CASH!

As the greatest event in computer sports – the SC12 Student Cluster Competition (SCC) – prepares to kick off next week, tension is rising worldwide. Hordes of fans and industry insiders are analysing the computing tasks, picking their favorite team or teams, and arguing about it with their friends and even their enemies. We’ve …

High school kids wrestle uni students in mini-cluster match

Now that the US elections are over, it’s obvious that the world’s attention has shifted to the upcoming Student Cluster Competition (SCC), which will kick off next Monday at SC12 in Salt Lake City. The traditional ‘Big Iron’ competition (details here) has teams of undergraduates benchmarking their home-grown clusters to see …

Scraggly student veterans bid for SC12 victory

A couple of old-timer teams round out the field at the upcoming SC12 Student Cluster Competition (SCC) in Salt Lake City. These contests started in 2007 and between them, these two teams have participated in a total of nine matches. Each school has six team members plus three advisors/coaches. Let’s assume that the competition …
Appro Xtreme Cool water-cooled blade supercomputers

All-female code-crunching boffin team aims for cluster compo glory

A couple of new – and quite different – teams are looking to shake things up at next week’s SC12 Student Cluster Competition (SCC) in Salt Lake City. For the first time, we’ll see a coalition of elite schools combine forces to take on their more experienced competitors. We will also see another SCC first: an all-female team. …
Summer Palace, outside Tsinghua University. Pic by Bridget Coila, licensed under Creative Commons

China tries for 2012 WORLD cluster compo DOMINATION

According to Chinese astrologers, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, and it’s certainly been a most auspicious year for Chinese HPC student cluster teams. So far this year*, China has completely dominated the Student Cluster Competition circuit. China's Tsinghua and NUDT university teams took both the Overall and highest LINPACK …