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Artist's view of a binary black hole. Pic credit: NASA, ESA and G Bacon (STScI)

Oz universities plan big iron to look for gravitational waves

A new supercomputer is one of the goodies that Australia's Swinburne University will get in a newly-launched gravitational wave research project. The university's professor Matthew Bailes is leading an AU$31.3 million initiative called OzGRav, and is drawing together local researchers who already have experience in …
NASA's exploding star illustration

US Dept of Energy flings cash at exascale simulators

America's Department of Energy (DoE) has announced US$39.8 million in funding for the first round of grants in its Exascale Computing Project. The winners include 15 applications covering 22 projects with 45 research and academic participants. This round of funding covers modelling and simulation applications “with a focus on …
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Fujitsu's billion-dollar ARM supercomputer delayed by up to 2 years

Fujitsu's monster ARM-powered supercomputer, the Post-K, will miss its 2020 deadline. The $910m project has stalled because its engineers need more time to design, test and perfect the machine's processors, we can confirm. Fujitsu was hired by Japan's boffinry nerve-center RIKEN to produce a roughly 1,000 peta-FLOPS …
Chris Williams, 07 Sep 2016
Xeon E3-1500 v5

Hardcore core-to-core comms core-alled into hardware

Intel and boffins at the North Carolina State University have cooked up a framework that coordinates core-to-core communications in hardware rather than software. This work is important because to keep processing power scaling up, you want the overhead of multi-core computing processes to stay down. The CAF – core-to-core …

Fujitsu: Why we chose 64-bit ARM over SPARC for our exascale super

Hot Chips Fujitsu chose 64-bit ARM CPU cores for its upcoming exascale supercomputer for two reasons: Linux and the ability to customize its own processors. It was a bit of a surprise when the Japanese IT giant picked ARMv8-A over SPARC64 and x86 for its Post-K beast, which will be used by Japanese boffins to carry out climate-change …
Chris Williams, 23 Aug 2016

Little ARMs pump 2,048-bit muscles in training for Fujitsu's Post-K exascale mega-brain

Hot Chips ARM is bolting an extra data-crunching engine onto its 64-bit processor architecture to get it ready for Fujitsu's Post-K exascale supercomputer. Specifically, ARM is adding a Scalable Vector Extension (SVE) to its ARMv8-A core architecture. SVE can handle vectors from 128 to 2,048 bits in length. This technology is not an …
Chris Williams, 22 Aug 2016
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Nvidia welcomes Intel into AI era: Fancy a benchmark deathmatch?

HPC blog Nvidia just fired the first salvo in what promises to be a classic and long-lived benchmark death match vs Intel. In a webpage titled "Correcting Intel's Deep Learning Benchmark Mistakes," Nvidia claimed that Intel was using outdated GPU benchmark results and non-current hardware comparisons to show off its new Knights Landing …
Dan Olds, 19 Aug 2016
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Intel teases geeks with 2017 AI hyper-chip: Xeon Phi Knights Mill

IDF16 Intel is working on a powerful Xeon Phi processor for servers and workstations that is "optimized" for artificial-intelligence software – and it's codenamed Knights Mill. Chipzilla's data center group boss Diane Bryant flashed up this slide during this morning's Intel Developer Forum keynote in San Francisco: The chip is …
Chris Williams, 17 Aug 2016
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Xeon Phight! Phight! Phight! Nvidia says Intel cheated benchmarks

Nvidia has fired its latest salvo in the ongoing “benchmark wars”, accusing Intel of fudging Knights Landing (Xeon Phi) comparisons to GPUs. The particular claims that Chipzilla made during ISC 16 in June related to deep learning performance claims, specifically that Xeon Phi ran a deep learning benchmark 2.3 times faster in …
SGI in Jurassic Park

OMG: HPE gobbles SGI for HPC. WTF?

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has bought venerable computing firm SGI – formerly Silicon Graphics – for $275m. Over the past few years, SGI has concentrated on the big-iron end of the server market and high-performance computing. It's this technology that HPE wants to bolster its hardware lineup. "At HPE, we are focused on …
Iain Thomson, 11 Aug 2016
NVidia aims to gives games power to handhelds

PCs? Eh, who needs 'em? Nvidia asks while hoovering up more cash

Nvidia says its last quarter set record high marks for revenues, as returns were up across the board. For the second quarter of fiscal 2017 – the three months to July 31 this year – the California-based GPU specialists logged: Revenues of $1.43bn, a 24 per cent increase over last year's $1.15bn. Net income of $253m was up …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Aug 2016

Intel gobbles AI chip biz Nervana for $350m

Intel is knuckling down its efforts into artificial intelligence by buying Nervana Systems, a startup company that specializes in deep learning. The deal is, we're told, worth $350m. Chipzilla's server-grade processors, the Xeon and Xeon Phi, power a lot of the world's deep learning training, and it's the algorithms from …
Intel's "Knights Landing" processor

Hot iron: Knights Landing hits 100 gigaflops in plasma physics benchmark

Russian researchers working with an Intel supercomputer have put its Knights Landing hardware through its paces, and are pleased with what they've found. The boffins reckon the many-cored hot rod more than doubled their plasma simulation performance with nothing more than a simple recompile. Here's what they had to say at …
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Cray profits literally go up in smoke after electrical incident

Cray has revealed that its products' Q2 profits have literally gone up in smoke. The company this week announced second quarter revenue of US$100.2m, down from $186.2m in 2015's corresponding quarter. That dip meant the company incurred a loss of $13.1m compared to last year's $5.8m profit. Things aren't going to be much …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2016
Road Closed sign

Seagate to dismount and fsck its ClusterStor?

Amid the looming closure of its Havant facility in the UK, Seagate has nothing to say about the future of ClusterStor, its HPC disk array product line that was engineered there. When we learned Seagate was planning to close its Havant site with 325 job losses, we realized that this was the ClusterStor development shop. …
Chris Mellor, 25 Jul 2016

Google tests its own quantum computer – both qubits of it

A couple of years ago, a quantum physicist suggested to Vulture South that one of the best uses for quantum computers might be to model reality. Now, Google reckons its boffins have done just that. Science wants to model quantum systems because they lie at the heart of reality. For example, chemistry – where Google has chosen …
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It's neat having speedy, flashy boxen but they need connecting, too

HPC Blog The next big battle ground in High Performance Computing, and thereafter in large enterprise computing, will be centered on high performance interconnects (HPI). These are the mechanisms that tie systems together and enable high speed communication between nodes. The HPI market is the very high-end of the networking equipment …
Dan Olds, 14 Jul 2016
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China prototypes pre-exascale super trio with its own non-US chips

Before any country can deploy an exascale system, they have to get pre-exascale prototypes into the field to test out their underlying technologies and determine what approaches have the best chance of scaling up performance and being manufactured affordably. It looks like China is looking at three different pre-exascale systems …

Points tables unveiled: Who needs sport? Follow HPC kids' summer cluster cup final

HPC Blog The results are in for the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) 2016 Student Cluster Competition, and we've analyzed them senseless. First for the big headlines: the ever-plucky Team South Africa won their third ISC Student Cluster Competition championship last week at ISC'16. Team Tsinghua was following closely …
Dan Olds, 30 Jun 2016
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Lenovo HPC bounces back after IBM spinoff

When IBM sold off its System x division to Lenovo Group in the fall of 2014, some big supercomputing centers in the United States and Europe that were long-time customers of Big Blue had to stop and think about what their future systems would look like and who would supply them. It was not a foregone conclusion that the Xeon- …

WTF is WRF and Clover? Cluster kids use HPC grunt to solve the mystery

HPC blog One of the most interesting parts of the ISC Student Cluster competitions is their inclusion of “mystery” applications and tasks. These are something that the students can’t prepare for. They can only rely on their training and wits to bring them through. For the 2016 ISC competition, Pak Lui, the Cluster Master in Chief (CMC …
Dan Olds, 28 Jun 2016

Powerful ARMs, heaving racks ... yes, of course it's this year's student cluster-building contest

HPC Blog It's time for our traditional video look at each of the teams in the ISC (International Supercomputing Conference) 2016 Student Cluster Competition. Let's take it alphabetically this time... Team Boston Green: They're one of two teams utilizing ARM processors to fuel their cluster. A lot of ARM processors, about 800 cores …
Dan Olds, 28 Jun 2016

Undergrads build 12.6-TFLOPS cluster out of four nodes, 112 cores

HPC Blog The ISC (International Supercomputing Conference) Student Cluster Competition once again cements its reputation as the place where LINPACK records go to fall. Last week we saw not one, but two teams top the current 12.03 TFLOPS record that was established at the ASC'16 spring competition. Team HUST, from the Huazhong …
Dan Olds, 28 Jun 2016
 CRAY-1 on display in the hallways of the EPFL in Lausanne.

Cray explores options for supercomputing-as-a-service

Cray is exploring options to offer supercomputing "as a service", but don’t expect AWS to be offering the venerable vendor’s number-crunching monsters online anytime soon. Rather, the company is looking at ways it can offer its technology as a service, which if nothing else potentially relieves customers of at least some of …
Joe Fay, 27 Jun 2016
Exit sign. Pic:  Lukas Kästner

It's all fun and games until someone loses a rack*

HPC Blog This year’s ISC’16 Student Cluster Competition boasts the most diverse set of hardware in the near 10-year history of student cluster competitions. Student teams are running three different system architectures (x86, ARM, and Power) in both traditional and hybrid (hardware accelerated) forms. The configurations of these …
Dan Olds, 22 Jun 2016
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Nice cluster, kid. But can these supercomputing students actually predict the weather?

HPC blog Your correspondent wrote this blog during the action at the ISC’16 Student Cluster Competition arena, located on the trade show floor of the ISC’16 conference. So far, everything is going well for the teams – everyone has their hardware and finished their basic set-up over the weekend. Yesterday was when the rubber met the …
Dan Olds, 21 Jun 2016
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Plump Dell lays its table for the upcoming HPC Stampede

Michael Dell is getting out the good china as his firm prepares to dine on a slice of the world's supercomputer market. Dell’s PC and server shop has rolled out a series of High Performance Computer Systems targeting applications in life sciences, manufacturing and research. They are: the HPC System for Life Sciences, …
Gavin Clarke, 21 Jun 2016
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Supercomputers in 2030: Lots of exaflops and LOTS of DRAM

Supercomputers will overcome the predicted crumbling of Moore’s Law over the next few years to show massive leaps in performance between now and 2030 – but will still look pretty familiar to today’s compute power junkies. In a series of sessions at ISC this morning covering exascale architectures, speakers predicted a rapid …
Joe Fay, 21 Jun 2016

Intel's Knights Landing: Fresh x86 Xeon Phi lineup for HPC and AI

The long wait for volume shipments of Intel’s “Knights Landing” parallel x86 processors is over. At the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany, the company is unveiling the official lineup of its Xeon Phi chips, which are aimed at high performance computing and machine learning workloads alike. The …
Intel HPC Orchestrator screenshot

Intel-supported Open HPC stack to land in Q4

Along with its Knights Landing chips landing, Intel has unveiled its first implementation of the Open HPC environment. The Intel HPC Orchestrator is a validated software stack designed to give big iron admins the kind of out-of-the-box support more familiar to the enterprise server customer. It wraps up the Open HPC software …

Fujitsu picks 64-bit ARM for Japan's monster 1,000-PFLOPS super

ISC Fujitsu has signaled it will use 64-bit ARMv8 cores in the whopping exascale supercomputer it's building for Japan's boffins. Back in 2014, the Japanese IT giant was hired by the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science to construct the Flagship 2020 machine – dubbed the Post-K super because it will succeed Japan's K …
Chris Williams, 20 Jun 2016
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Start massaging your wallet: DDN buffs up EXAScaler Lustre HPC storage rig

ISC DataDirect Networks' ES14K is claimed to be four times faster than other suppliers' laggardly Lustre kit. The ExaScaler ES14K comes in all-flash and hybrid flash/disk configurations and features: Embedded Intel Enterprise Edition Lustre parallel file system v2.7 Up to 500GB/sec throughput Internal PCIe gen 3 fabric …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jun 2016
Sunway TaihuLight that was built for the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi. Pic courtesy of The Next Platform

Home-cooked tech helps China topple US as top supercomputer user

ISC For the first time since the Top 500 rankings of the most powerful supercomputers in the world was started 23 years ago, the United States is not home to the largest number of machines on the list – and China, after decades of intense investment and engineering, is. Supercomputing is not just an academic or government …

All aboard the PCIe bus for Nvidia's Tesla P100 supercomputer grunt

ISC Nvidia has popped its Tesla P100 accelerator chip onto PCIe cards for bog-standard server nodes tasked with artificial intelligence and supercomputer-grade workloads. The P100 was unveiled in April at Nvidia's GPU Tech Conference in California: it's a 16nm FinFET graphics processor with 15 billion transistors on a 600mm2 die. …
Chris Williams, 20 Jun 2016
Iron Giant

Open MPI gets closer to exascale-ready code

Big iron sysadmins: there's a significant upgrade to OpenMPI in the works. Late last week, OpenMPI released v2.0.0rc3, which brings a full Version 2 of the message passing interface closer to fruition. Open MPI is an open source implementation of the MPI Forum's message passing standards. It covers a variety of 32-bit and 64- …
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Forget your stupid campus party. I'm going to Frankfurt to do some HPC

HPC Blog The world's attention will be focused on Frankfurt, Germany next week for the kick-off of the fifth annual ISC'16 Student Cluster Competition. Twelve teams of university undergraduates will travel from far and wide to prove their HPC and clustering prowess in a competition that will demand everything they have – and more. …
Dan Olds, 16 Jun 2016

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