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...]

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...]

Unlocking the Full Potential of Health Data

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The health care industry is facing a challenging transition as it tries to use data more effectively. Gathering, sharing and analyzing patient information is an incredibly challenging process that is contributing to a technological revolution across the health care sector. One of the main challenges in our health care system today is the difficulty in working with patient data, because it exists in a variety of formats, both structured and unstructured, and it often exists in large volumes, making it difficult to handle in many data centers. This is where supercomputing comes into play, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is leading a project that is taking key steps forward in driving innovation. According to a recent … [Read more...]

RTM: Essential Imaging for the Oil and Gas Sector

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Reverse time migration (RTM) modeling is a critical component in the seismic processing workflow of oil and gas exploration. RTM imaging enables more accurate imaging in areas of complex structures and velocities by gathering a two-way acoustic image of seismic data in place of a one-way image. As this definition implies, it means creating and analyzing much more data with every seismic model, something that can be incredibly daunting — traditional simulations are already complex and require significant resources. RTM comes in many flavors and is rapidly evolving. Its growth is driving increased geophysical processing requirements: vertical transverse isotropy, tilted transversely isotropic media, least squares/residual shot RTM (aka … [Read more...]

Oktoberfest: Prost! to Beer and Big Data

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Bavarian culture has spread its wings and has influenced the world with its beer-drinking tradition. Oktoberfest, a more than 200-year-old celebration that began in Munich, Germany, is still well under way. These days, Oktoberfest is celebrated not only in Bavaria, but also around the globe in places such as London and Dublin and many cities in the United States. As an enthusiast of both beer and data, I find myself thinking about how even beer production and marketing relate to big data. Even in the world of Oktoberfest, there is a massive amount of information to be mined, analyzed and put to use. Questions such as “What types beer are sold the most?” and “Depending on the time, day, place and weather, which areas host the heaviest … [Read more...]