Supercomputer, Cluster, Cellphone – What’s the difference?

Clusters vs. Supercomputers

Let’s admit it. Supercomputing is an interesting industry to work in, and this line of employment often generates some peculiar questions and thoughts from people trying to gain a better understanding of what it is that we actually design, develop, build and sell. I often hear the saying: “my cellphone is a supercomputer because it’s just as fast, or faster, than a supercomputer was 30 years ago. Believe it or not, you still cannot predict a tornado on a cellphone, it just won’t work. You need a supercomputer for that type of scientific prognostication.  While today’s smartphones are, well, smart, they’re not that smart. The saying does hold some deep truth for us about commoditization and technological evolution, but it misses the … [Read more...]

Cray and VBRX hosting HPC workshop for upstream applications in Oil and Gas

Head to Rio on May 23 to learn more about how HPC technologies can pay dividends in the oil and gas sector.

On May 23rd, Cray and VBRX will host an event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil focusing on upstream applications in the Oil and Gas industry to address the growing demands of high-performance computing in this sector. The workshop aims to show the operational advantages oil and gas companies can gain by turning to HPC technologies and upstream scientific applications. HPC solutions and the oil and gas sector Seismic imaging and reservoir simulation are the most compute intensive tasks performed in the oil and gas industry. Improvements in seismic image clarity, resolution, and accuracy have direct financial impact financial in a business where one exploration well in deep water will cost in excess of $100M. While there are no known seismic … [Read more...]

Chapel: Productive Parallel Programming

CHAPEL-LOGO-FINAL

Parallel computing has resulted in numerous significant advances in science and technology over the past several decades.  However, in spite of these successes, the fact remains that only a small fraction of the world’s programmers are capable of effectively using the parallel languages and programming models employed within HPC and mainstream computing.  Chapel is an emerging parallel language being developed at Cray Inc. with the goal of addressing this issue and making parallel programming far more productive and generally accessible. Chapel originated from the DARPA High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program, which challenged vendors like Cray to improve the productivity of high-end computing systems.  Engineers at Cray noted … [Read more...]

CUG 2013 Preview…On the Road to Napa

CUG 2013

The annual Cray User Group (CUG) meeting is just a week away. I always look forward to this opportunity to see and hear from our customers from around the world. They gather each May to share their experiences with their Cray systems, learn from their peers, hear from Cray’s partners and give us feedback on what we can do better. The week also provides plenty of time to meet new people and catch up with old friends. This year’s event will be in Napa Valley, California and hosted by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). CUG is an independent corporation of member organizations that own Cray systems. It actually runs independently of Cray Inc., but with very close ties.  Cray employees serve as Special Interest … [Read more...]

“Lee Friedlander: The Cray Photographs,” a Crayon’s Review

Cantor Arts

I attended the April 5th opening reception of Lee Friedlander: The Cray Photographs at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center and was pleased and moved in every respect by the exhibit, the people attending and their reactions to what they saw. For me this was a unique event, bringing together my studies as a graduate student at Stanford and my long career at Cray. Amidst the nearly 500 visitors (including my mother Louise, my sister Deb and my brother-in-law Tom) I saw Rupak Biswas from NASA-Ames attending with his wife, and Katie Antypas from NERSC attending with her parents. This was certainly a family affair. Friedlander’s 79 framed photographs are presented in a circular format in one room, each frame pressed against the next in a … [Read more...]