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China rumored to rule impending Top500 supers list with 50-plus petaflopper

It looks like China is getting ready to scare the wits out of – or maybe some life into – the US and European supercomputing establishments and their sugardaddy governments once again by taking the top slot in the June rankings of the Top500 supercomputers in the world. And this time, it will be with an all-Intel ceepie-phibie …
IBM Watson QA Power7 cluster

IBM puts supercomputer Watson to work in ROBOT CALL CENTRE

It's clever enough to beat humans on quiz shows and diagnose illnesses, but is IBM's artificially intelligent supercomputer tough enough to cope with angry consumers who've been on hold for three hours? IBM certainly seems to think so, as it has just given Watson a new job as a customer service manager. Rather than phoning a …
Jasper Hamill, 21 May 2013

Buff American beauties keen to dominate Euro youth in tech tussle

HPC blog 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 …
Dwave

NASA and Google team up to buy into quantumish computing

A consortium of researchers from Google and NASA are planning to crack the issue of machine learning with a $15m quantum computer that will form the basis of a new Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab. The new facility, which will be sited at Silicon Valley's NASA Ames Research Center, will host a 10 square meter shielded room …
Iain Thomson, 16 May 2013
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Fujitsu peddles three-way hybrid super to Nagoya University

Nagoya University is the latest academic institute in Japan to take a slice of the K supercomputer design - and put it on its campus to run applications on a monstrous 10.51 petaflops box. In theory. And in an interesting twist, the new machine is a hybrid Sparc64-Xeon-Xeon Phi cluster that will eventually push up into the …

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

HPC blog 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 …

Japan begins planning exascale super

Japan is plotting its return to global supercomputing dominance, with its science ministry seekings funds to design the successor to its K supercomputer, to be completed by 2020. According to The Asahi Shumbun, the new project aims to create a super with 100 times the processing capacity of the Fujitsu-Riken Research Institute- …

ScaleMP: Use RAM plus vSMP, not flash, to boost server performance

There are hypervisors that chop a single server into virtual bits, and other hypervisors that take multiple servers and make them look like one big virtual one. ScaleMP's vSMP hypervisor is the latter kind, and can be used to create a shared memory x86-based system that runs Linux that would normally require special processors …

Cray descends to midrange HPC shops with baby XC30 supers

Supercomputer maker Cray had been hinting that it would deliver a new cut-down version of its "Cascade" XC30 system, and the machine is being unveiled on Tuesday at the Cray User Group meeting in Napa Valley, California. The XC30-AC machines go into more standard cabinets like those used with the XE5 and XE6 predecessors to the …
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IBM considers System X surgery: Will it ruin its sexy HPC figure?

HPC blog 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 …
A blade server from the UV2 super

SGI tax bennies push bigger profit in Q1

Jorge Titinger, the CEO who was brought into Silicon Graphics last year to clean up the mess made by $87m in low-margin deals that wrecked the company's bottom line for a few quarters, is probably breathing a little easier now that the most recent quarter has ended. Not just because revenues were up, but because the remaining $ …

Cray peddles more iron than expected in Q1

It is tough to find a choppier business than the supercomputer market, and Cray CEO Peter Ungaro had to remind Wall Street once again to not judge the company on a single quarter, and particularly on the first quarter that it has just turned in. While the company's top line was a little better than expected, issues with the …

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

ASC'13 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- …
Block diagram of Nvidia's Echelon exascale system

Nvidia Tesla bigwig: Why you REALLY won't need x86 chips soon

Interview Life is what happens when you are trying to do other things, as the old saying goes. Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO of Nvidia has been perfectly honest about the fact that the graphics chip maker didn't intend to get into the supercomputing business. Rather, it was founded by a bunch of gamers who wanted better graphics …

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

HPC blog 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 …
Hadoop in the enterprise

Teradata buffs Hadoop for the biz intelligence masses

Teradata has polished Apache’s Hadoop Big Data framework for business intelligence and added new tools for quicker and easier querying of massed data. The data warehousing and BI giant has released Teradata Enterprise Access for Hadoop, which includes two new features: Smart Loader for Hadoop and its trademarked SQL-H. Teradata …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Apr 2013
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

HPC blog 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

GTC 2013 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 …
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Two new supers go live in Oz

The Pawsey Centre in Western Australia – which among other things will carry the computational burdens of the country's contribution to the Square Kilometre Array Telescope – has begun commissioning its 69 Teraflop Sandy Bridge-based Cray machine due to go live in July 2013. For iVec and the CSIRO (which is acting as procurement …
The Roadrunner supercomputer at Los Alamos

World's first petaflops super dumped on scrap heap

Roadrunner, the first supercomputer to break through the petaflops barrier and the first capability-class machine to demonstrate the viability of using specialized coprocessors in conjunction with processors, is having its plug pulled at Los Alamos National Laboratory. It's time to hack in and play Crysis while you still can. …
Fujitsu K supercomputer

'Super' market tops $11.1bn, propped up by massive sales

The high-performance computing market did well in 2012, rising 7.7 percent to $11.1bn and by far outpacing the sluggish growth in the systems space overall. But the market is top-heavy and dominated by a relative handful of supercomputer shipments, and sales of divisional, departmental, and workgroup systems all shrank last year …
The Register breaking news

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

GTC 2013 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. …
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Oil giant Total shells out €60m for world's fastest private super

Total Group wants to do a better job finding oil lurking in the Earth's crust, and these days that means getting more computing power to turn the jiggling of the planet into pretty 3D pictures that show where the Black Gold might be hiding. To that end, Total is paying Silicon Graphics €60m over the next four years to build the …

GE puts new Nvidia tech through its paces, ponders HPC future

GTC 2013 A top General Electric techie gave a presentation at the GPU Technology Conference this week in San José, California, and discussed the benefits of Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) for InfiniBand and its companion GPUDirect method of linking GPU memories to each other across InfiniBand networks. And just for fun, the GE tech …
Nvidia is taking hybrid computing another step forward with its Kayla card

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

GTC 2013 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's skirt-chasing chips ogle babes, eyeball Twitter and YouTube

GTC 2013 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, …
Nvidia is taking hybrid computing another step forward with its Kayla card

Nvidia welds together ARM-Kepler ceepie-geepie system for the impatient

GTC 2013 Graphics chip maker Nvidia is also an ARM processor maker, and it wants hybrid ARM-GPU chips just as much as you want them. And in the meantime, if you just can't wait, the company is working with Italian electronics manufacturer Seco to kick out another ceepie-geepie card that can be used for software development or to build a …

Nvidia to stack up DRAM on future 'Volta' GPUs

GTC 2013 Nvidia wants to own an ever-increasing part of the computing racket and will be adding 3D memory stacking to its future graphics processors to make them more power-efficient and to boost their performance. Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO at Nvidia, outlined the company's plans to used stacked DRAM on future graphics chips …
The Tesla K20 GPU coprocessor card

Nvidia stretches Tesla GPU coprocessors from HPC to big data

GTC 2013 Graphics chip maker Nvidia has barely begun to put a dent in the traditional high performance computing segment with its Tesla GPU coprocessors and it is already gearing up to take on new markets. The next target is big data, and as with parallel supercomputing, Nvidia is hoping to get the jump on rivals Intel and AMD, which …
Open-mouthed Burmese python

Nvidia, Continuum team up to sling Python at GPU coprocessors

GTC 2013 The Tesla GPU coprocessor and its peers inside your Nvidia graphics cards will soon speak with a forked tongue. Continuum Analytics has been working with the GPU-maker to create the NumbaPro Python-to-GPU compiler. We all call it the LAMP stack, but it should really be called LAMPPP or LAMP3 or some such because it is Linux, …

Cluster padawans vie for place in Shanghai super showdown

ASC13 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 …

MapR smashes MinuteSort benchmark on Google Compute

While supercomputers and workstations have Linpack to rank their number-crunching performance, when it comes to sorting algorithms to rank Big Data systems, there is a collection of tests known as the Sort Benchmarks. And this year it looks like Hadoop is back on top after commercial distie MapR Technologies beat the MinuteSort …

EMC touts screeching Hawq SQL performance for Hadoop

EMC's Pivotal Initiative division made a big splash last week with the launch of its Pivotal HD distribution of Hadoop. This is not a normal Hadoop distribution, but one that takes the parallel guts of the Greenplum database and reworks them to transform the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) into something that speaks …
SGI logo hardware close-up

SGI rejigs financing ahead of possible asset sale

Supercomputer and dense-pack server maker Silicon Graphics has rejiggered its credit facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance ahead of a possible sale of intellectual property or other assets. In an 8K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, SGI said that it had amended its credit agreement with Wells Fargo, …

Wheeeee... CRUNCH: DDN pushes out monster Hadoop appliance for biz

Supercomputer storage firm DataDirect Networks (DDN) has brought out a scale-out Hadoop storage array, the hScaler, to both ingest and digest Big Data using Hadoop, combining compute and storage in one platform. DDN claims this approach gets rid of the data-transfer bottlenecks that slow down Hadoop servers in the existing …
Chris Mellor, 27 Feb 2013
CSIRO test image PKS 0407-658

Australian supercomputer to use geothermal cooling

As Australia’s Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope takes shape, CSIRO has begun drilling in an unusual approach to cooling supercomputers. The petascale powerhouse needed by ASKAP is being built in water-short Perth, so instead of sucking nearly 40 million litres of water from the city’s supply, CSIRO plans a …

Red Hat has BIG Big Data plans, but won't roll its own Hadoop

Let's get this straight. Red Hat should package up its own commercial Hadoop distribution or buy one of the three key Hadoop disties before they get too expensive. But don't hold your breath, because Red Hat tells El Reg that neither option is the current plan. Red Hat is going to partner with Hadoop distributors and hope they …

Concurrent gives old SQL users new Hadoop tricks

Application framework specialist Concurrent has given SQL devs a free tool to get at data stored in Hadoop, without having to learn the intricacies of the trendy computational framework. The "Lingual" tool is an ANSI-standard SQL engine built on top of Concurrent's "Cascading" software, a Java application framework for Hadoop …
Jack Clark, 20 Feb 2013
The XC30 supercomputer, formerly known as Cascade

Cray readies XC30 supers for Ivy Bridge and coprocessors

Supercomputer maker Cray has trotted out its financial results for 2012, and used the occasion to talk about its plans for its current year after closing out one of the best four quarters it has put together in many seasons. On a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Cray CEO Peter Ungaro talked generally about Cray's plans …

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

Analysis 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 …

Scottish uni slams on the Accelerator to boost UK boffinry

The boffins who run two big supercomputers on behalf of the UK government and academic research institutions - as well as one smaller machine aimed at industrial users - have converted those machines into an HPC utility called Accelerator. And they want you to buy core-hours on their machines instead of wasting your money …