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 CRAY-1 on display in the hallways of the EPFL in Lausanne.

The Steve Jobs of supercomputers: We remember Seymour Cray

Before Steve Jobs, there was Seymour Cray – father of the supercomputer and regarded as something close to a God in the circles he moved in. Jobs’ Apple Computer is reputed to have bought one of Seymour’s massive machines back in the day: a Cray, to design the brand-new Macintosh personal computer. This would have been a …
Gavin Clarke, 2 Oct 2015
Angle grinder image via Shutterstock

MemSQL makes it easier to hook up to Apache Spark

Apache Spark may be the fastest data processing engine around for big data, but unless you are conversant in Scala or Java, this cluster computing framework can be a pain to set up and manage. So here is some help from MemSQL, the in-memory database start-up: a way of letting organisations use Spark without writing code, the …
Drew Cullen, 24 Sep 2015
Data scientist image via Shutterstock

Let’s hear it for data scientists! Making our lives more and more frictionless

There’s a lot of hype around data scientists. You can blame big data and the cloud. Data scientists are lauded, hunted and positively desired by those wanting to squeeze the most from their information. In accordance with such demand come large salaries – the average is $123,000 in the US. Like the Yanks of WWII, data …
Stuart Burns, 24 Sep 2015

Grounded: Can big data do for agri-business what it's not doing for retail?

Like fusion energy, big data has consistently promised amazing results – always at some indeterminate point in the future. We know grocers track every purchase, index them against our loyalty cards (translation: database index keys), and develop rich models of consumer behaviour that have, despite all of the millions of …
Mark Pesce, 24 Sep 2015
Hillary Clinton

More email misery and pillory for Hillary as FBI starts quizzery

The FBI has managed to recover "deleted" emails from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's private server, which she used for official business while presiding over the State Department. Bloomberg has reported that a person "familiar with the investigation" has said the Feds have recovered "personal and work-related emails …
Supernova captured by XMM-Newton. Pic: Stefan Immler and Gulab Dewangan and ESA

Nine of the world’s fastest GPU supercomputers

When it comes to groundbreaking innovations in supercomputing over the last decade, there are few shifts that made bigger waves than the introduction of heterogeneous computing. Coupling high-performance host processors with a graphic-processing boost has helped several top-ranked supercomputers achieve performance and energy …
Team Register, 23 Sep 2015
D-Wave chip

D-Wave: 'Whether or not it's quantum, it's faster'

D-Wave is getting ready to drop a new benchmark on Arxiv, which the company says demonstrates its latest 1000-qubit processor outperforming classical machines. And it's bound to provoke the “other side” of the “is it quantum and is it faster?” debate, because the latest paper – the company has posted it here – describes “a …
Tianjin crater

China's Tianhe-1 supercomputer back online after Tianjin blast

The Tianhe-1 supercomputer in the Chinese city of Tianjin is back online. State organs China Youth Daily and People.com.cn are both reporting, with more than a little tinge of pride, that the supercomputer survived the blast thanks to the resilience of the data centre in which it was housed. The data centre is a couple of …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Aug 2015
Smoke and fire are seen after an explosion in the Binhai New Area in north China's Tianjin Municipality on Aug. 13, 2015. An explosion rocked the Binhai New Area in north China's Tianjin Municipality at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. The cause and casualties are not immediately known. (Xinhua/Yue Yuewei)

Huge explosion kills 44+ in China, blasts nearby supercomputer offline

Vid China is today trying to determine the cause of extensive explosions in the port city of Tianjin that have left at least 44 dead and hundreds injured. State news organ Xinhua reports that a warehouse operated by a company that specialises in dangerous goods, such as chemicals and explosives, blew up on Wednesday night. The …
Team Register, 13 Aug 2015

ISC ’15 Student Cluster Comp: Asian kids gear up to grab the crown

HPC blog Four teams from Asian universities entered the ISC’15 Student Cluster Competition arena in a bid to do glorious cluster combat and chisel their names into HPC history. Who are these brave students? Where do they come from? What do they want? Team India: Liquid cooled screamer The kids from Jamia Millia Islama brought some …
Fibre Optic by Barta IV https://www.flickr.com/photos/98640399@N08/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Internet, schminternet: Boffins propose private 100Gbps HYPERNET

A "hypernet" to be known as the Pacific Research Platform, shuffling data at up to 100Gb/s, will be established between US West Coast laboratories and several supercomputers thanks to a $5m grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant will span five years, reports the New York Times, and will connect the NSF's …
Cray Research Cray 2

Q2 wins drag Cray back into profit territory

Cray Computer's commanding footprint in the high-performance computing (HPC) market has pitched the venerable vendor back into profitability. In its Q2 2015 results announced Thursday, the company reported US$186.2 million in revenue and $5.8 million in profit, both well above what was reported for the same period in 2014, …

China bans HPC and UAV exports, citing national security

China has banned the unlicensed export of supercomputers and certain types of unmanned aerial vehicles. The bans, announced here and since shoved through internet translat-o-trons by El Reg, targets machines of eight petaflops or more with 2 Gbps of networking capacity. The June 2015 top 500 supercomputer list records only …
Back_of_the_NSCI_envelope

Obama endorses 3D TLC flash. How else can you do exaflop computing?

Comment New storage technologies are needed for exabyte-munching exaflop supercomputers. The same-old-same-old disk tech used for supercomputers won’t do for the exaflop generation promised by President Obama’s US leadership supercomputing order. This is Obama’s moonshot, the equivalent of President Kennedy’s man on the moon vision …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015

IARPA: Come, quantum computing boffins. We've got cash for you

Nay-sayers may nay-say, but America's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) reckons research into quantum computing is advanced enough to warrant a five-year program to kick things along. It's kicked off what it the Logical Qubits (LogiQ) program here, and it's looking to fund work building current science …
China's FAST radio telescope

China announces petascale super for FAST radiotelescope

China is planning another petaflop supercomputer, this time to support what will by next year become the world's largest radiotelescope. The telescope itself, a 500 metre monster that's scooped into a hilltop in Guizhou, has been under construction since 2011. This week, engineers began installing the 4,450 panels that will …

Start learning parallel programming and make these supercomputers sing, Prez Obama orders

President Obama has signed an executive order that will pump US government money into American supercomputers just like before but in a more coherent fashion. The order, signed Wednesday, kickstarts a new "National Strategic Computing Initiative" [PDF] that will, through a single vision and investment strategy, try to keep …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jul 2015
A 1U rack server from Quanta using the Roadrunner Opteron motherboard

Oi, supercomputer folk. This is where the brains of the future come from

HPC blog Purdue University has participated in more Student Cluster Competitions than any other institutions - nine of 'em in less than 10 years. They must be getting something out of it, right? To answer that question, plus many others, we talked to Dr Gerry McCartney, who is the VP of IT at Purdue. He is also a professor of IT, along …

Bureau of Meteorology picks Cray-zy fast 1.6 petaflop supercomputer

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM's) plan to buy what will be, at least for a while, Australia's biggest iron has taken a big step forward, with Cray named as the lucky vendor. The BoM's tender originally went out in 2013, and in 2014 the federal government allocated around AU$50m to the project. Another $27m will …
HP Apollo supercomputer

HP recruits Intel for Top 100 supercomputer push

Interview To the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, where we caught up with Bill Mannel, general manager of HP’s freshly minted HPC and Big Data group, a business unit within the server division. HP’s HPC and big data hardware revenues include blade servers and some Superdomes in the mix. But the company is …
Drew Cullen, 17 Jul 2015
lotus F1 team's supercomputer

HP tops HPC charts, former Big Blue biz not so super

HP has consolidated its position at the top of the HPC tree this year, after IBM’s protracted offloading of its x86 server business to Lenovo spooked customers and stalled purchases. IDC said the market was flat in 2014 at $10.2bn compared to $10.3bn the previous year, with the IBM/Lenovo transition delaying purchases and …
Joe Fay, 16 Jul 2015

China reveals home-grown supercomputer chips after Intel x86 ban

ISC 2015 Computer design guru Yutong Lu has outlined her blueprints for China's homegrown supercomputer chips following a US ban on Intel processor exports to the Middle Kingdom. In April it emerged that Uncle Sam had forbidden Intel from shipping high-end Xeon and Xeon Phi parts to China's defense labs and other areas of its …
Chris Williams, 15 Jul 2015
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 …
Hubble image compared to SMACK simulation

NASA invents super-SMACK, hallucinates WHOLE STAR SYSTEMS

video Beta Pictoris, a research favourite among astro-boffins since the discovery of its bright debris-and-dust disk in 1984, has yielded new wonders in a NASA supercomputer simulation. The debris disk, Goddard astrophysicist Marc Kuchner explains, has what looks to be a warp in long wavelengths, but looks like an X in shorter …
A proton carries the DIRECTV 12 satellite aloft in 2009. Pic: International Launch Services

Micron fires off some in-memory flash data rockets

Comment Micron’s Storage Business Unit (SBU) wants to shake up the server status quo with a dynamic upstart duo: in-memory app accelerating data processing rockets and instant access, cold data flash vaults. How it’s going to do that begins with its NAND chip development plans, which we learned about at a Silicon Valley briefing. It …
Chris Mellor, 26 Jun 2015
Dell PowerEdge C6320

Dell lobs more irons into the hyperconverged market fire

Dell's fired its next hyperconverged gun, announcing the PowerEdge C6320 - which it says targets big data and heavy workload applications. Based on Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors, the C6320 offers up to 18 cores per socket – or 144 cores per 2 rack unit chassis. There's support for 512GB of DDR4 memory and as much as 72TB of …
Speedometer by Nathan E Photography, Flickr under CC2.0

Mellanox wants to prise OEMs loose from Broadcom

Mellanox is putting itself forward at the heart of faster Ethernet data centre networks, with both chips and switches pitched at 25 Gbps, 50 Gbps and 100 Gbps deployments. Speaking to The Register ahead of the launch, the company's VP of marketing Gilad Shainer said the silicon provides “the only non-blocking 100 Gbps switch in …

SGI to flick switch on new Japanese super

Japan's Institute for Solid State Physics (ISSP) at the University of Tokyo is the latest win for SGI, which is to pull the big red switch on a 2.65 petaflop system on July 1. The system will be a hybrid of Intel Xeon processors and NVIDIA Tesla K40 GPUs, the company says in its canned statement. The SGI ICE XA will have 1,872 …
Sir Maurice Wilkes photo Computer Laboratory University of Cambridge

Cambridge’s HPC-as-a-service for boffins, big and small

Cambridge University has been involved in high performance computing for 18 years, starting with a “traditional” supercomputer, before a major restructuring eight years later led to what would now be considered high-performance computing (HPC). We read much about how IT needs to become a profit not a cost center. Well, as part …
Angle grinder image via Shutterstock

MapR and Typesafe put Apache's Spark to work on big data

Big data and developer advocates are joining IBM promoting Apache’s cluster computing framework as a safe and consumable platform for business. MapR is bowling out Spark offerings tailored to three scenarios with its implementation of the Hadoop batch-crunching framework. MapR has announced the Real-time Security Log Analytics …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Jun 2015
Philae takes a first look at the surface of Comet 67P

Sun's out, guns out: Plucky Philae probot WAKES UP ... hits 'snooze'

The Philae lander has woken from hibernation for the first time since its 60-hour, energy-draining mission on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last November, scientists at the European Space Agency confirmed today. Signals from the probe reached the ESA at its ops HQ in Darmstadt late last night. Philae, whose contact went …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jun 2015
Approximate locations of five lander candidates initially identified in high-resolution OSIRIS Narrow Angle Camera images taken in Dec 2014. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam

Boffins, feeling around in dark for Philae, lit up by bright spot on Comet 67/P

Vid The European Space Agency has determined a "good candidate" for the location of its Philae probot, which successfully landed on Comet 67/P in November last year. Since then, the location of the spacecraft's final resting place has remained a mystery for boffins working on the Rosetta mission. However, on Thursday the ESA said …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Jun 2015

Bad Baidu boffin boss banished for bypassing bot body's bylaws

A researcher from Baidu has been fired after an internal inquiry blamed him for getting the company to be disqualified from a standardised and independent Artificial Intelligence test. Baidu was disqualified from the ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge (ILSVRC), despite achieving the best score, after subverting …
Weather vane image via Shutterstock

A 16 Petaflop Cray: The key to fantastic summer barbecues

Successful BBQ at the weekend, or did a cloudburst stop play, leaving your fridge groaning beneath a mountain of uncooked ribs and sausages? If only the weather forecast had been more reliable. By 2017 that might be possible, as the Met Office – responsible for generating more than 3,000 tailored forecasts and briefings each …
Gavin Clarke, 10 Jun 2015
Stack_road_interchange_in_Phoeniz_AZ

Solidfire joins the rush to Cisco-flavoured Open Stackery

Solidfire has joined the million other suppliers partnering with Cisco and its UCS servers with a converged OpenStack system reference architecture. Its AI for OpenStack – with AI standing for Agile Infrastructure and not Artificial Intelligence – joins another AI for OpenStack using Dell servers and networking and an AI …
Chris Mellor, 9 Jun 2015
HP CTO Martin Fink

Open source? HP Enterprise will be all-in, post split, says CTO

HP Discover What's the latest enterprise IT company to proclaim its love of open source? HP, that's who – or, more specifically, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, one of two companies that will emerge once HP splits this November. Speaking at the HP Discover conference in Las Vegas this week, CTO Martin Fink said open source will be central to …
Orchestration

Quiet, please – HP waves baton for 'composable' IT

HP Discover HP has a grand plan for when it morphs into Hewlett Packard Enterprise later this year, and the key to it is a concept it's calling "composable infrastructure." In his keynote at the HP Discover conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, HP CTO Martin Fink said that to understand composability, you should think about a composer …
HP's Martin Fink talks up the Machine

HP haters: Get ready to rage against THE MACHINE 'next year'

HP Discover HP is still hard at work at the futuristic computing platform it has dubbed the Machine, and staffers from HP Labs were on hand at the HP Discover conference in Las Vegas this week to give an update on its progress. There was even sample hardware on display, which HP Labs' Jaap Suermondt said was "evidence that we're actually …
Magnus at Pawsey

Western Australian government funds Pawsey supercomputing centre until 2021

Scientific HPC fans in Australia will be breathing a sigh of relief that the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has secured state government funding through to 2020-21. The Western Australian government has announced the AU$21.6 million allocation in its 2015-16 budget, which will help keep Pawsey's supers sufficiently super for …
Hadoop

Failure to launch: Hadoop will be 'anaemic' for years, says Gartner

Forget the hype and the vendors chinning each other – Hadoop is still not ready for take-off. That’s according to Gartner, whose latest short story in the Hadoop-is-not-ready saga has predicted “anaemic” adoption of Hadoop for at least the next two years. The biggest problem is that people allegedly still can’t use Hadoop, …
Gavin Clarke, 13 May 2015
Hadoop

Quarterly losses double at Hadoop hawker Hortonworks

Open source Hadoop purveyor Hortonworks doubled its quarter-on-quarter net losses in the first quarter of 2015 to a loss of $40m (£25m). Meanwhile, revenue rose 167 per cent to $22.8m (£14.5m). For its full-year, the company estimates a net loss of between $78m (£50m) and $84m (£54m). In its previous full-year results, it …
Kat Hall, 13 May 2015
Nvidia GeForce

Struggling Nvidia says it may pay up to $125m to shutter Icera modem biz

Nvidia posted mixed results for the first quarter of its fiscal 2016, even as it looks forward to exiting the mobile chip business in favor of new markets. Total revenue for the quarter was $1.15bn, which narrowly missed analysts' estimates. It also represented disappointing year-on-year growth of just 4.4 per cent, compared …