Inventions at Cray: Solving the Hard Problems

In the U.S., Feb. 11 is National Inventor’s Day, timed to coincide with the birthday of Thomas Edison. That’s reason enough to celebrate the inventors among us. The phrase “computer vector register processing” may not sound very inspiring, but that’s what Seymour Cray’s patent for the supercomputer, issued in 1976, was called. Forty years later, his invention still inspires scientists and engineers to change the world. Cray continues to nurture the spirit of invention both internally and among its customers and partners. For his part, Seymour Cray obtained numerous patents throughout his career, but it was U.S. Patent No. 4,128,880 (“Computer vector register processing”) that got him inducted into the National Inventors Hall ... [ Read More ]

Remote Visualization Supports the Global Workforce: Let’s Move Pixels Rather Than Data

Do you have larger and larger datasets, widely dispersed users, ever-shrinking IT support? If your answer to any of these is yes, have you tried remote visualization? Remote visualization moves pixels, not data, leaving the data safely in the datacenter; frees up network bandwidth; and typically improves performance with the application and the data co-located. HPC users want much more from the jobs they run: printouts from simulations, tests and analyses are no longer satisfying. Users want to see visual representations, and until recently "“fat” workstations on their desktops were the only option. Today, the most common approach is to provide CPU/GPU power when the user wants it — but as dataset size increases, there can be delays ... [ Read More ]

Chapel Completes First “Summer of Code”

The Chapel team recently concluded our first Google Summer of Code (GSoC), which we introduced in our spring blog post. GSoC is a program in which Google funds students around the world to spend their summers working on open-source projects. The process began with Chapel applying and being accepted as a mentor organization back in February. After mentor organizations were announced, students began working with the accepted organizations to lay the groundwork for their project proposals, which were submitted in March. Google provided Chapel with two student slots, a typical number for a first-year mentor organization. This made choosing students among the pool of 46 applicants challenging, as there were well over a dozen highly impressive ... [ Read More ]

Optimizing HPC Program Performance with OpenMP and Reveal

What do you do when the performance of the MPI program that distributes your work across many cores and nodes starts to level off? Like any good programmer, you enlist the help of your favorite performance profiler to understand what’s going on. You find that you are now network bound, or that the MPI memory footprint has grown so large that there is little room left for your program. Assuming you still have plenty of work to do, how can you modify your program so you can continue to scale? One solution is to introduce another level of parallelism within the node. Save MPI for communication between nodes or between NUMA regions, and use threading within a node. When MPI levels off, moving to a hybrid programming model like MPI + OpenMP ... [ Read More ]

Top 5 Blog Posts From 2015

Happy New Year! Check out some of the top blog posts from 2015: Why Do Better Forecasts Matter? Meteorologists have been striving to increase the accuracy of their work since the first weather forecasts were issued in the mid-19th century by pioneers such as Robert FitzRoy. In the 1950s and 1960s, the development of computers and observational technologies enabled forecast generation using the numerical weather prediction theories of Vilhelm Bjerknes and Lewis Fry Richardson. Today the numerical models that support our weather and climate forecasts are true “grand challenge” problems, requiring on the order of 10,000 billion (1016) mathematical operations and the exchange of 150 billion (1.5 x 1014) bytes of information to generate a ... [ Read More ]