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...]

Data is More Valuable than the Hardware it Runs On

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It’s been a while since my last post earlier this year, but we’ve been very busy working on some exciting new technologies that we can finally talk about in public. As many of you know, our original product, the Urika graph analytics appliance (now renamed Urika-GD®), gave us a great opportunity to introduce a unique technology to the enterprise analytics market. Not only did Urika-GD start solving some fairly intractable problems where commodity machines faltered, but it also gave us the opportunity to better understand some of the use cases that were beginning to emerge – how our clients and users actually deployed some of the big data analytic solutions, the workflow from start to finish as well as the other systems that were needed … [Read more...]

Back to Warp Speed, Scotty!

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Aren’t supercomputers already supposed to be moving at “warp” speed? Well, multi-petaflops anyway? With computing challenges getting more demanding and datasets getting more massive, it is not as easy as Captain James Kirk asking Scotty for more power. Supercomputers and their associated storage systems are getting larger each year, but a performance inefficiency is emerging between the compute nodes and the disk systems where the parallel file systems are located. The overall performance of application execution on supercomputing systems is subject to the efficiency of the data movement between a tier of spinning disks and the memory where the codes are actually executing. Cray has been collaborating with some of the most … [Read more...]

This Is Not Your Grandmother’s Accelerated System

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Last week we announced the GPU-dense Cray CS-Storm cluster supercomputer, a highly innovative production system for application acceleration. This system is a milestone for Cray and will provide researchers and end users with one of the most high performance systems available for accelerated application workloads. Let me describe the perfect storm of events that make NOW the right time for this type of solution.       Advanced Accelerator Technology Accelerator technology is advancing rapidly. With its ultra-fast ECC on-package memory and full double-precision floating point performance, the NVIDIA® Tesla™ K40 GPU accelerator makes it the right technology for productive work. Software Maturity and … [Read more...]

Unconventional ways Supercomputers are Used: Part 2

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We talk a lot about how high performance computing systems are on the forefront of science, but it's also fun to take a step back and look at some of the more unusual ways that supercomputers are impacting our lives. In a previous post, I discussed how supercomputing systems are being used in everything from ice cream physics to baseball and dirty diapers. Now we're back with part two of our series on unconventional uses of supercomputers. The Lord of the Rings Considering this movie’s high-flying, detailed special effects, I'm not surprised the director, Peter Jackson, turned to supercomputing to help create these lifelike experiences. To make the weather, buildings and vegetation accurate enough to turn J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth … [Read more...]