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SPEC puts forward benchmark for accelerated supers

SPEC – the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation – is pimping a new set of benchmarks it says will help HPC users get the most out of their hardware-accelerated systems. The “new benchmark suite that measures the performance of systems using hardware accelerator devices and supporting software”, SPEC ACCEL 1.0, comprises …
The Zythos Supercomputer at Australia's iVEC

What could you do with 264 Sandy Bridge cores and 6TB of RAM?

What could you do with 264 Xeon E5-4610 cores running at 2,5GHz and 6TB of RAM? As it happens, you can now try to find out: Perth's supercomputer facility iVEC has just shouted-out to anyone who likes the idea of taking its new, large-memory computer system Zythos for a spin. Zythos is an SGI UV2000. The machine is built from …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Mar 2014
SKA antennas close-up - artist's impression

Square-kilometre radio telescope wins millions in UK funding

UK science minister David Willetts has announced £11m of funding to help the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) process the expected deluge of data it will produce. Handling the expected 915-petabyte daily data firehose from the entire SKA radio telescope will require advances in practically every computing discipline: the data will …
Samsung 500GB SpinPoint 2.5in HDD

Traditional RAID is outdated and dying on its feet

HPC blog 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

HPC blog 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

HPC blog 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

HPC blog 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: …
Shot of the D-Wave chip holder - a robotic looking contraption

D-Wave wooing universities down under

While controversy continues over the nature of its machines, quantum computing company D-Wave is wearing out the shoe-leather talking to academic users – and The Register. In Australia to present to universities and the HPC community at large about D-Wave, the company's director of business development and strategic partnerships …
IBM's Watson playing Jeopardy

IBM to invest $100m and a decade into using Watson in Africa

IBM is planning to invest $100m and 10 years on getting Africa hooked on its Watson supercomputer system. Big Blue said that it wants to use the system in "Project Lucy", named after the earliest known human ancestor, to help the continent in key areas like healthcare, education, sanitation and agriculture. "In the last decade …

Open MPI hits milestone with FORTRAN-ready 1.7.4 release

The decade-old Open MPI project, beloved of the HPC community, has shipped code for a major feature release that brings it close to a complete MPI 3 implementation. Speaking to The Register, Cisco's Jeff Squyres (who along with Richard Graham, then of Los Alamos and now with Mellanox, was one of the instigators of the Open MPI …
OCP Storage VAult

OCP gets Ethernet silicon interface

HPC interconnect specialist Mellanox has added an Ethernet switch SDK to its contribution to the Facebook-led Open Compute Project. The SDK follows contributions dating back to 2013 to the OCP's networking sub-project, an effort which also attracted participants like Broadcom, Cumulus Networks, and Intel. For that project, …
Shot of the D-Wave chip holder - a robotic looking contraption

Boffins say D-Wave machine could be a classic*

First, the world thought that D-Wave hadn't built a quantum computer; then, it thought there was a quantum computer in the box; next, there was disappointment that the D-Wave machine didn't speed things up (but might still be quantum); and now, it starts to look like it's not quantum after all. In the latest instalment in the …
cloud

HPCaaS experiment becomes commercial service

After 18 months of experimentation, UberCloud has launched a commercial service to help academic HPC users find cloud-accessible resources for their projects: a kind of HPC-as-a-service matchmaker. The project follows two lines of thought: although there's plenty of compute cycles already sitting on the cloud courtesy of Amazon …

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

HPC blog 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 …
Donkey Kong

King Kong's dangling cluster cut loose

The supercomputer used to animate Peter Jackson's 2005 version of King Kong has been donated to New Zealand's Auckland University of Technology (AUT). The supercomputer comprises 200 IBM HS20 Blade servers, a piece of kit Big Blue sold back in 2005 and a couple of preceding years. IBM's page for the HS20 suggests the machines …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jan 2014
The ISS shown transiting the Sun. Pic: Thilo Kranz/DLR

'We don't use UPS. If we did we'd have huge UPSs and tiny computers'

The heatwave-driven outage at the VLSCI supercomputing facility last week could have been worse than it was, with power cuts also a risk, the facility has confirmed. A senior systems administrator at VLSCI, Chris Samuel, has discussed the outage and the lessons learned with The Register. While the reason for the shutdown was …
Shot of D-Wave's 16 qubit chip

Boffin benchmark battle after D-Wave quantum kit crawls in test

Yet another attempt to benchmark the D-Wave quantum computer – this time, in its 512 qubit configuration – has come up with disappointing results, with the company responding that it was the wrong kind of test. The work, led by Matthias Troyer of ETH Zurich, pitted a D-Wave Two (the machine that Google bought to much fanfare …
The Bureau of Meteorology's heatwave forecast

'Climate change' event dishes up sous vide supercomputers

Call it climate or call it unusual weather, but last week's five-day heat wave in the Australian city of Melbourne got the sweat running at one of the country's major supercomputing facilities, the Victorian Life Science Computation Initiative (VLSCI). The problem for sysadmins at VLSCI was simple: with temperatures remaining …
Bursting out of a box

We wuz right: Big Blue ARE stuffing System x boxen with ULLtraDIMMs

Confirming our story about IBM stuffing ULLtraDIMMs into its an X-series servers, storage news upstart EnterpriseTech*reports that Big Blue's coming X6 servers, supporting Xeon E7 v2 processors, will have eXFlash memory channel storage: flash memory on a DDR3 module running on the memory bus. A SanDisker confirmed it was …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2014

UNREAL, dude: Nvidia uncloaks Tegra K1 graphics monster for your mobile ... and CAR

CES 2014 Nvidia has unveiled two versions of a new Tegra mobile processor aimed at both radically improving graphics performance of mobile gaming and putting "a supercomputer in your car," in the words of company co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. The new chip, dubbed the Tegra K1, has "the heart of GeForce and the soul of Tesla," Huang …
Rik Myslewski, 6 Jan 2014

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

HPC blog 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...

HPC Blog 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

HPC blog 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, …
Air pollution in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, northeastern China, in October 2013

China's answer to AIRPOCALYPSE: Fire up the supercomputer

China has decided to use the power of supercomputing to help in its on-going quest to beat the smog that is turning the country into an international coughing laughing stock. The Tianhe-1A, which took number one spot on the oft-changing Top 500 list for a few months in 2010, will be set to work trying to figure out the cause of …
Phil Muncaster, 11 Dec 2013

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

HPC blog 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?

HPC vid 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 …
Vulture

SGI flutters onto corpse of Starboard Storage, pecks away at assets

The Register is hearing that HPC bods SGI have bought the assets of the failed unified file/block access and hybrid array startup Starboard Storage, which crashed and burned in October. Some Starboard employees are now back at work and the product line technology is set to continue. What's SGI about here? Their CEO is Jorge …
Chris Mellor, 9 Dec 2013

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

HPC blog 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

HPC Blog 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

HPC blog 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

HPC blog 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

HPC blog 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

HPC blog 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

SC'13 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

HPC blog 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 …
SGI Ice Cube Dual Row Container

US govt cuts squeeze crucial computer science, shoot country in foot

SC13 Analysis The US is shooting itself in the return-on-investment foot by tightening the screws on support for research on advanced computing systems. That was the message expressed loud and clear by a trio of HPC heavyweights during a "Retrospective on Supercomputing Technologies" session celebrating the 25th anniversary of the SC13 …
Rik Myslewski, 22 Nov 2013
Xeon plus stack of memory

Intel pulls up SoCs, reveals 'integrated' memory on CPUs

Intel said it was working on stacking a layer of memory on its Xeon processors to run memory-bound workloads faster. It said this in a pitch at the Denver-based Supercomputing Conference (SC13) which is running from 17 to 22 Nov. According to an EE Times report, Intel's Rajeeb Hazra, a VP and general manager of its data centre …
Chris Mellor, 21 Nov 2013

Green supercomputer benchmarks make boffins see red, check blueprints

SC13 The biannual Green500 list of the most energy-efficient supercomputers has broken new ground in two important ways: for the first time an HPC system broke the 4 gigaflops per watt barrier, and also for the first time all the top 10 systems benefitted from GPU acceleration. Then there's a third bit of note: the benchmarks are …
Rik Myslewski, 21 Nov 2013

Nvidia to Intel: 'Which HPC chip brain will win? Let the people decide'

SC13 Nvidia is of the opinion that in the tussle with Intel as to whether Nvidia's Tesla GPU accelerators or Chipzilla's Xeon Phi many-core CPU coprocessors will dominate the supercomputing market, the HPC community has already voted with its checkbooks. "This community continues to invest in GPU computing – GPU-based accelerated …
Rik Myslewski, 20 Nov 2013

Micron takes on Intel with 'breakthrough' processor for streaming data

Memory specialist Micron has announced a new accelerator processor that it claims outperforms Intel's chips when it comes to dealing with streaming data. The "Automata Processor" was announced by the company on Monday and billed as a device that uses the inherent parallelism of memory architectures to speed the ingestion and …
Jack Clark, 19 Nov 2013

Decades ago, computing was saved by CMOS. Today, no hero is in sight

SC13 The general chair of the SC13 supercomputing conference thinks the semiconducting industry has reached a tipping point more radical – and uncertain – than it has gone through in decades. "We've reached the end of a technological era where we had a very stable technology," Bill Gropp, Thomas M. Siebel Chair in Computer Science at …
Rik Myslewski, 19 Nov 2013
The Cave 2 visualisation facility in Melbourne, Australia

Why not build a cluster out of WORKSTATIONS?

Australia's Monash University has just opened an amazing visualisation facility called Cave 2. The facility offers an eight-metre long, 320-degree wall comprised of 80 3D monitors with a combined resolution of 27320 x 3072 pixels. “We spend millions of dollars building supercomputers and then look at the results they produce on …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Nov 2013