Supercomputing Matters: SC14 in Retrospect

SC14-BLOG

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...]

Chapel at SC14: Making Big Easy

Chapel_SC14Blog

It’s been a big year for the Chapel team at Cray. In the past 12 months, we’ve doubled the size of our team, and with that expansion have been able to significantly accelerate the strides we’re taking. Here are a few notable accomplishments that occurred in 2014: Released two new versions of Chapel, the most recent of which, version 1.10, was made available on Oct. 2. Across these two releases, we’ve made significant performance improvements, enhanced our standard modules and I/O support, added initial support for Intel® Xeon® Phi Knights Corner (KNC) and continued refining the language’s productivity-oriented features. Held our first Chapel Implementers and Users Workshop (CHIUW) at IPDPS in May, highlighting work being done in … [Read more...]

Why Chapel? (Part 3)

Chapel_Blog

This article wraps up the series started in my previous two blog articles (here and here) with the goal of explaining why we are pursuing the development of the Chapel parallel programming language at Cray Inc. In those articles, I advocated for the pursuit of productive new languages like Chapel. In this article, I’ll cover reasons for developing a new language rather than extending an existing one. Why create a new language? Why not extend C, C++, Fortran, … ? People who ask this question are typically referring to one or more of the following perceived benefits. By extending a language you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can build on what’s come before.  While this is true, conventional languages also tend to carry baggage that … [Read more...]

Managing Data from High-Performance Lustre to Deep Tape Archives

TAS

On September 17 we will present Cray’s Tiered Adaptive Storage (TAS) solution at the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG) event in Germany. Session topics will include managing and preserving research data and infrastructures to support preservation of data at scale. Cray has a natural interest in contributing to these areas because a large number of our customers run Lustre® file systems. As of today, more than 120 petabytes of data capacity has been deployed on Cray supercomputers. Our customers produce enormous amounts of simulation data every day with the numerical models they use in science and engineering. Data protection policies apply to a significant portion of that data, and it frequently needs to be … [Read more...]

Why Chapel? (Part 2)

Chapel_Blog

This is the continuation of my previous blog article describing why we are pursuing the development of the Chapel parallel programming language at Cray Inc. In that article, I argued for why the HPC community should consider pursuing productive new languages like Chapel. In this article, I’ll tackle some of the skepticism that typically arises in such conversations. With so many languages trying and failing . . . is this an intractable problem? Personally, I don’t believe that there is any inherent technical reason that we, as a community, can’t create a decent and productive language for large-scale computing. I believe that our failure to do so thus far has been due less to technical challenges (though they do exist) and more to … [Read more...]