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Cray Turns Cluster Crank with ScaleMP PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 00:00

Does your performance in the data center suffer because you don’t have enough memory to really get the job done? Do you have apps that don’t perform well on clusters, or don’t parallelize at all? If this describes you or a loved one, read on, because Cray thinks they have the solution to what ails you.

Cray, with partner ScaleMP, recently announced two new systems that aim to cure your memory woes, in distinctly different ways.

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ISC'13: The Second Battle of Leipzig; Team Europe ready for Klusterkampf PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 May 2013 21:17

And so it begins: our coverage of the ISC'13 Student Cluster Challenge. It's time to meet the three European teams, the two American teams, the squads from China, the students from South Africa, and the "Rainforest Eagles 2.0" of Costa Rica.

As always, we'll report on the configurations, the workloads, and the exhausted students live from Leipzig. Meet the kids and join the conversation at studentclustercomp.com.

 

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Must-See Geek TV; Brainy science featuring explosions and Kumar PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 May 2013 22:47

Are you sick of brainless, insipid, hackneyed, and utterly stupid TV shows? (I’m not, but some of you might be.) If you are, then direct your eyes and DVRs to a new show on Discovery Channel called The Big Brain Theory. The premise of the show sounds like typical reality fare: a set of contestants are competing to win a job in some organization. But this show isn’t typical at all – it is, in a word, amazing.

Contestants on The Big Brain Theory have to use real science to tackle truly difficult tasks. In last week’s premiere episode, teams watched a demonstration in which two small pickup trucks were crashed head-on at 35 mph. In the bed of each truck was a wooden box that exploded in the collision. The host explained that the crash generated 40g of force on the 160lb package, which was rigged to explode if subjected to 25g or more. The task: design a mechanism that will ensure that the package experiences less than 25g in an identical crash.

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Radio Free HPC: Two-Fer Tuesday! PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 00:00

First up: this podcast. The Radio Free HPC team discusses Lustre and LUG 2013 with Brent Gorda. Now part of Intel in their High Performance Data Division, Gorda was CEO of Whamcloud when the company was acquired last summer. Gorda recently wrote a post about the rapid growth of the Lustre community, so we started our discussion there and learned a good deal more about the popular file system.


Followed by... an interview with Fritz Ferstl, CTO of Univa. Topics include Big Data, HPC, and their continuing convergence. Ferstl shares his unique perspective on where the two worlds overlap and the areas with great potential for synergy in the future.

Check the Radio Free HPC website for new episodes and more great content from Rich Brueckner of insideHPC, Henry Newman of Instrumental, Inc., and GCG's Dan Olds.

 

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The IBM x-ectomy: HPC Impact PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 20:51

The increasing drumbeat tapping out news of IBM unloading all or part of their System x (x86-based servers) business onto Lenovo got me wondering about the HPC implications. What’s the possible impact on IBM, and the HPC market, if Big Blue dumps the x86 end of their system business?

These systems are big business, albeit at margins ranging from low to extremely low. As our pal TPM points out here, IBM has never been good at low-margin lines of business. However, IBM is pretty good at HPC, and HPC is a market where bunches of low-cost boxes are combined to build the largest, and some of the most expensive, systems in the world. And the innovations that drive HPC performance eventually find their way into enterprise and even consumer tech products.

It’s impossible to find good numbers on exactly how many HPC systems and individual models are in use today. In fact, it’s increasingly difficult to differentiate an HPC workload vs. an enterprise compute-intensive or Big Data workload. (I’d argue that they’re the same thing, with the only difference being the data they’re analyzing and the questions they’re answering.)

Since I couldn’t get solid numbers for analysis of the entire market, I worked over the latest Top500 list to see what’s what at the high end of HPC. As a system vendor, IBM has more systems (193, or 39%) on the Top500 list than any of their competitors. HP is in second place with 146 systems for a 29% share. IBM’s lead gets larger when you look at performance. Total Petaflop/s of IBM’s systems on the list equals 66.216 vs. Cray’s second place showing of 28.189 Pflop/s.

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