Your Big Data Resolution for the New Year

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Nothing says January like a list of resolutions calling for healthier living in the new year. I have admittedly given up making such lists for myself, but I’m happy to say that I played my part in promoting good health by getting my wife an activity tracker for Christmas. She will join 40 million other Fitbit, Jawbone and Apple band wearers in tracking multiple aspects of their daily activity and sending loads of data back to device manufacturers in 2015. The Activity Data Gold Mine At the level of the individual wearer, the utility of an activity tracker is quite evident. It tracks raw stats like heart rate, steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and location, among others, allowing users to monitor, visualize and brag about … [Read more...]

Think About Containers for Data So You Can Stop Thinking About Containers for Data

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During the holidays, those of us who are interested in data may have found ourselves spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about the staggering number of packages that get delivered all over the place every day, and just how they get moved around. It turns out that one of the things the shipping industry has done to make everything much more efficient is containerization: transporting goods in special containers of standardized dimensions called “intermodal containers,” or simply “shipping containers.” These containers can be loaded, stacked, transported over long distances using various transportation modes (ships, trains, semitrailer trucks, etc.), and unloaded efficiently, with a high degree of automation and without ever being … [Read more...]

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Most Devastating Thunderstorms

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Western Massachusetts probably isn't the first place that comes to mind when the topic is severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, but that's where I lived as a kid when two significant severe weather events crossed my path. Two weeks after my family moved into a new home in the city of Ludlow, our house was hit by lightning, blasting charred paneling and insulation across my sister's bedroom and exposing glowing electrical wires. A few years later, on Oct. 3, 1979, a rare (for New England) supercell thunderstorm spawned a short-lived but very strong tornado as it rolled northward up the Connecticut River Valley and into Feeding Hills, Mass., which was our home at the time. To this day, the tornado spawned by the so-called Windsor Locks, Conn., … [Read more...]

Accelerate Your I/O with Cray DataWarp – A look back at what Cray did in the 80s

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Cray recently introduced the DataWarp™ applications I/O accelerator. The National Nuclear Security Administration will deploy this technology at a large scale in the “Trinity” system next year. This is a remarkable trend in the market, and for Cray it is reinvention of a technology that was deployed 30 years ago. Cray introduced the technology in its supercomputers in the early 1980s. The company offered solid-state storage devices (SSDs) for temporary storage of datasets as an extension to the Cray X-MP, Cray-1 S and Cray-1M systems to significantly increase data transfer rate. This “burst rate” was dependent upon SSD memory size and configuration. The SSD was housed in a stand-alone four-column chassis. All power supplies and cooling … [Read more...]

Supercomputing Matters: SC14 in Retrospect

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SC14, the premier event in the HPC industry, has wound to a close in New Orleans. It’s interesting to look back and contemplate the validity of this year’s theme, “HPC Matters,” the success of the conference and the vitality of the industry. Our industry has seen the ebb and flow of the relevance of supercomputing, and the fortunes of Cray have often paralleled those of this event (or visa versa). This year was no exception and SC14 was a resounding success for Cray and for the industry. With more than  10,000 attendees and 356 exhibitors it was a full show and the work never stopped. As I walked the show floor — logging about 5 miles a day — I was struck by the number of Cray customers. They were everywhere, either with booths of their own … [Read more...]