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

SC12 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 …

Cray notches up two Urika graph analysis appliance sales

It has been a busy couple of weeks for supercomputer maker Cray, with the rollout of the 27-petaflops "Titan" supercomputer, the debut of the next-generation XC30 system, and the acquisition of sometime HPC rival Appro International. News that Cray had sold two of its Urika big data analytics appliances got a little lost in the …
spiders crawl through tunnel of binary numbers

Boiler Makers swing hammer at SC12, Team Taiwan tries for a three-peat

SC12 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

SC12 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

SC12 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 …

DataDirect plunks $100m on storage array disguised as a super

Supercomputer storage supplier DataDirect Network is setting up a $100m exascale computing lab. The goal is to hit one quintillion floating-point operations per second, and DDN hopes this mind-boggling level of number-crunching will be reached by 2018. The company is going to direct its funds to: Accelerating IO with a new file …
Chris Mellor, 14 Nov 2012

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

SC12 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

SC12 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 ( …

Dell to sell Brit firm's 'fastest in the world' HPC arrays

Dell is going to resell Xyratex ClusterStor high-performance computing arrays, which should be good news for the UK data-storage firm after its recent Q4 tumble on the back of crummy enterprise demand and tumbling disk drive sales. ClusterStor is Xyratex's supercomputing and high-performance computing (HPC) storage array, billed …
Chris Mellor, 14 Nov 2012
The FirePro S10000 dual-GPU card

AMD fires off crazy-fast FirePro double-whammy GPU card

SC12 AMD, a company that knows a thing or two about building powerful graphics processors, has whipped out a card that has more flops than either Nvidia's K20 high-end GPUs or Intel's x86-based Xeon Phi coprocessors. That's one sure way to cut through all the noise that Nvidia and Intel are making about their just-released offerings …
The PCI card housing a Xeon Phi coprocessor

Intel Xeon Phi battles GPUs, defends x86 in supercomputers

SC12 Intel's Xeon Phi might have started out with the goal of creating an x86-based graphics engine, but it ended up defending the x86 architecture's hegemony in high-performance computing against the onslaught of GPU coprocessors from Nvidia and AMD. However, it ends up being a battle among GPUs anyway – but in a different market …

Mellanox stretches InfiniBand across campuses, metro areas

SC12 With InfiniBand on the march, taking market share away from Ethernet in the upper echelons of the supercomputer racket, Mellanox Technology could sit back and enjoy itself a little. But instead, the company is tweaking its InfiniBand lineup to make its switches and adapters more appealing and to keep InfiniBand rolling. The …
Oak Ridge Titan logo

Accelerators tag team in Top500 supercomputer CPU smackdown

SC12 This fall's Top500 supercomputer sites ranking continues the smackdown between massively parallel supercomputers based on CPUs and somewhat less-massive machines using a mix of CPUs and accelerators. In this round, the hybrid ceepie-geepies, which mix CPUs and GPU coprocessors, have the CPU-only boxes on the ropes – and the …
The Tesla K20 GPU coprocessor card

Nvidia launches not one but two Kepler2 GPU coprocessors

SC12 The wait for the "Kepler2" GPU coprocessors based on the company's GK100 GPUs is over. That's the good news. The bad news is that you may have to hurt someone – or call in a favor at Nvidia – to get your hands on one, because so many people are going to be looking for one to goose their number-crunching. And you'll have to get …

Cray ends battle with Appro by ingesting it alive

Cray is going to top off a pretty good year financially if it can get the many-petaflopping Titan and Blue Waters supercomputers accepted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Illinois. There's a good chance those machines will be accepted, but it creates a problem: the $188m Blue Waters deal was an unexpected …

Computer sports betting pool: WIN PILES OF virtual CASH!

SC12 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

SC12 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 …
The XC30 supercomputer, formerly known as Cascade

Cray scales to over 100 petaflops with 'Cascade' XC30 behemoth

Hot on the heels of the delivery of the 20-plus petaflops "Titan" CPU-GPU hybrid supercomputer to Oak Ridge National Laboratory last week, Cray has launched what is unquestionably a much better machine, the long-awaited "Cascade" system developed in conjunction with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and sporting …

SGI losses widen, but revenue bumps up

Hyperscale server and supercomputer maker Silicon Graphics is still chewing through a pile of ICE X cluster low-margin deals – what company top brass call LMDs, a weapon of profit destruction that their predecessors allowed – which whacked profits in the quarter ended in September. That September quarter is the first quarter of …

Scraggly student veterans bid for SC12 victory

SC12 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

SC12 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

SC12 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 …
SoftLayer's data center

Two Texan teams tool up, ride out to enormo cluster shootout

SC12 People in most US states would be ecstatic (or, perhaps, totally indifferent) to hear that one of their universities made it to the 2012 Student Cluster Competition (SCC) in Salt Lake City, but the state of Texas wanted more - so it's sending two teams to the Great Salt Lake Siege. Details on cluster-building competition rules, …
Zurich zBox4 construction

Swiss boffins slap together homegrown zBox4 supercomputer

Students and a few wandering professors at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Zurich had a perfect weekend when they scraped together the funds to buy the parts for their zBox4 homegrown supercomputer and assembled the two-rack beast. This is the fourth generation of homegrown machines that the ITP …

Young HPC warriors grab Big Irons, whack away at Cold War plutonium waste

SC12 The apps for this year’s edition of the SC12 Student Cluster Competition are the typical mix of HPC workloads, chosen to represent a range of scientific disciplines and computational challenges. In order to drink deeply from the chalice of victory student teams will need to crawl inside each of the apps, find the bottlenecks, …

Olympics is over, prepare for a COMPUTER SPORTS SMACKDOWN

SC12 It’s November, which can mean only one thing for computer sports enthusiasts: it’s time for another Student Cluster Competition. The seventh edition of this annual event begins in about two weeks at the SC12 conference in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah. The competition pits teams of university undergrads against each other in a …
Appro International logo

Appro adds water-cooling to Xtreme supercomputers

It's time to install the hot tub, sauna, and heated swimming pool next to the supercomputer centers of the world and open them up to the public as modern-day baths. If you can think of a better use for waste heat generated by petafloppers, so be it. But clearly this is possible with a new line of supercomputers from Appro called …
Oak Ridge Titan logo

Oak Ridge lab: Behold, I Am TITAN, hear my 20 petaflop ROAR

Oak Ridge National Laboratories is really eager to talk about the "Titan" supercomputer, which weighs in at more than 20 petaflops of performance and which has just been activated this month. In fact it's too eager to wait until the SC12 supercomputing trade show in November to give out all the feeds and speeds. Cray and Nvidia …
Super Micro's 4-node FatTwin server

Super Micro bends metal for Super Hadooper data munchers

King of the whiteboxers Super Micro, which is also one of the dominant suppliers of raw system components to other whiteboxers, has launched a line of clusters preconfigured to run the Hadoop big data muncher at the same time that it has reported its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 ended in September. …
Brent Spiner signed photo saying 'Big Data'

Big data to be normal by 2020

Big data is big business right now, and it will not only be embiggening as this decade rolls on, but it will become normal, like enterprise resource planning, supply chain and customer management, and other perfectly normal parts of the corporate computing landscape. But that will only happen, it seems, if we get people involved …

Cray bags InfiniBand, Lustre smarties from SystemFabricWorks

For the past decade, SystemFabricWorks of Austin, Texas, has been doing development work on high-speed networks and storage systems as well as system integration work for vendors and big supercomputing labs. So that it can focus on its system integration work, SFW has come to an arrangement with supercomputer maker Cray, which …

Big deals push Mellanox sales and profits in Q3

In the quarter ended in September, Mellanox posted sales of $156.5m, more than double that of year ago period, and the $48.4m in net income the company raked in was ten times--as in 10X--that of the black ink it had in the third quarter of 2011, when the Xeon E5s were expected but did not come out. The InfiniBand and Ethernet …
The Yellowstone super built by IBM for NCAR

US weather boffins fire up 'Yellowstone' 1.5 petaflopper

The US National Center for Atmospheric Research admitted a year ago that it had fallen behind in the flops race versus the weather boffinry in other countries, and shelled out tens of millions of dollars to build a new massively parallel Xeon E5-based cluster. The machine, dubbed "Yellowstone" because it is installed in a shiny …

Power and cooling: The Oak Ridge way

Video You think you have power and cooling issues? Slip into the shoes of Arthur ‘Buddy’ Bland, Project Director for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, and learn how they keep one of the largest computing facilities in the world powered up, yet cool enough to prevent melting. I talked to Buddy recently about how Oak Ridge …
Mellanox SwitchX-2 ASIC and its switches, not to scale

Mellanox etches software-defined networking onto SwitchX-2 chips

Networking chip and switch maker Mellanox Technologies is ramping up its efforts to play in the software-defined networking (SDN) world. The company will create its own OpenFlow controller and work to ensure that its switches work well with controllers from other vendors. The company is also rolling out a new switch ASIC that …
Indiana University's new data center for Big Red II

Hoosiers to get the world's fastest academic super

Indiana University is set to rise to the top of the flops among the world's academic institutions as it aims to break through the petaflops barrier with its upcoming "Big Red II" supercomputer using a Cray XK7 hardware - at least as gauged by raw computing power, and specifically those that foot their own bill for machines. The …

Big Blue bigwig: Tiny processor knobs can't shrink forever

HPC blog While at IBM’s Smarter Computing Summit last week, I had the great pleasure of hearing Big Blue's Bernie Meyerson talk about limits to today’s tech, and the associated implications. Bernie is IBM’s VP of Innovation and one of the rare technologist-scientist types who can clearly and directly explain highly technical concepts in …
Adapteva's Epiphany-IV chip

This supercomputing board can be yours for $99. Here's how

Feature Adapteva, an upstart RISC processor and co-processor designer that has tried to break into the big-time with its Epiphany chips for the past several years, is sick and tired of the old way of trying to get design wins to fund its future development. So it has started up a community project called Parallella that seeks to get …
The "Fornax" SGI <i>ceepie-geepie</i> supercomputer

Tizard super goes live in South Oz

South Australia’s Tizard supercomputer has been formally launched, giving eResearch SA a more than six-fold boost in compute power. The 34-Teraflop, 28-node SGI supercomputer was officially launched on October 4 by the state’s Science and Information Economy minister Tom Kenyon. It’s keenly anticipated by the state’s research …
IBM Flex Chassis, front view

Big Blue: 'New PureSystem? Madness? No, THIS IS SPARTA!'

The details are a bit sketchy, but in a week or so IBM hopes to unveil an update for its PureSystems family of modular boxes focussed on big data and cloud computing. Big Blue is hosting an online product launch for "the new PureSystems family member" on 9 October, and the company will talk about the kit at events in major US …

Keep your Playboy mansion, Supermicro is my nerd vice palace

Sysadmin blog With several clients facing refresh cycles, I've decided to poke my nose back into the tier-2 space to see what’s going on. Supermicro has been on my preferred vendor list for years, so when I was in the Bay Area this summer I stopped in to see what’s new. I left impressed with what I saw, and got a swank backpack admittedly …
Trevor Pott, 1 Oct 2012
OpenJDF logo

AMD, Oracle tag-team on GPU acceleration for Java apps

OpenWorld 2012 The offloading loading of calculations from CPUs to external accelerators such as GPU coprocessors is not just something that is restricted to supercomputer applications. Anything with lots of calculation that can exploit parallelism is a candidate for acceleration, and that means Java applications, not just Fortran or C++ code …