Chapel: Productive Parallel Programming

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

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 ]

HPC solutions unlocking new climate and weather research capabilities

Predicting the weather is so difficult that the hackneyed joke that weather forecasters are the only people who can be wrong all the time and still make a living had a grain of truth not all that long ago. This changed years ago however, as advances in meteorological studies and high-performance computing systems have allowed weather researchers to make much more accurate predictions and gain a better understanding of why weather patterns change direction or intensity. As a result, even when the local weather station is wrong, people can understand what happened and why the prediction was reasonable in the first place. Advances in high-performance computing have also had significant impacts in climate research, leading to considerable ... [ Read More ]

Data Intensive Cluster Supercomputing Contributes to Major Advance in Genetic Research

A person's genes play a prominent role in dictating who they become. Genetics is about more than just determining the color of a person's eyes or hair. Genes can also impact how their brain develops and reveal any likelihood of a person being born with a mental disorder. The study of genetics has become a priority for many scientists because breakthroughs in such research could help medical professionals identify signs of mental disorders and possibly prevent such conditions from developing. Researchers recently used supercomputing capabilities to identify genetic patterns that could lead to autism and similar disorders. This advance could enable scientists to prevent such disorders from developing, the National Science Foundation (NSF) ... [ Read More ]

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

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 ]