Back to Warp Speed, Scotty!


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...]

Oktoberfest: Prost! to Beer and Big Data


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...]

Q&A: Diving Deep Into Our Solar System


Anthony Mezzacappa, director of the University of Tennessee–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, and a team of computational astrophysicists are conducting one of the largest supernova simulations to date on ORNL’s “Titan” supercomputer. Titan, which is a hybrid Cray® XK7™ supercomputer, is managed by the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility on behalf of the Department of Energy. Dr. Mezzacappa answers our questions about his team’s work on Titan. Q: Why is understanding what triggers a supernova explosion so important? A: Supernovae are ultimately responsible for why you and I are here. The class of supernova that our team studies is known as core-collapse supernovae, and this type of supernova … [Read more...]

Recent Crash Test Results Highlight the Need for Enhanced Simulation

IIHS small crash

In July the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) published crash test results for the “small overlap front crash test,” in which only one of the 12 cars tested earned a “good” rating.  These results, combined with the results of earlier tests, led Consumer Reports to publish a headline reading, “Most Small Cars Bomb New Small-Overlap Crash Test.” At the same time, Nissan presented an excellent paper on the computer simulation challenges of the small overlap test. This is an example of the increasingly stringent requirements for automotive safety and why the use of high performance computing (HPC) for crash safety simulation is critical in the automotive design process. There are dozens of crash load cases evaluated in the … [Read more...]

Built-in Graph Functions Accelerate Discovery Analytics

We often encounter analytics use cases from customers or prospects where the analyst wants to select a particular facet of the data and deeply analyze it.  For instance, in the healthcare world, data includes patient (including genomic information), procedure, provider, billing and outcome data.  When trying to discover new insights into the data, the analyst often doesn’t know exactly what she’s looking for, so she needs to answer several high-level analytic questions about the data to guide further exploration. (And, of course, today’s data is usually not just big — it’s Big Data, so performance and scalability are important.) Assuming we’ve confirmed that the data is sensible, the high-level analytic questions often include the … [Read more...]