RFHPC78: Superfish Fiasco Hurts Lenovo

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the recent Lenovo laptop scandal involving Superfish malware. The company intentionally installed the program, which replaces security certificates so that the company could serve up ads on encrypted web pages.

Lenovo consumer personal computers employing the pre-installed Superfish Visual Discovery software contain a critical vulnerability through a compromised root CA certificate,” US-CERT said on Friday, urging people to remove the adware. “Exploitation of this vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to read all encrypted web browser traffic (HTTPS), successfully impersonate (spoof) any website, or perform other attacks on the affected system.”

While Lenovo now scrambles into Damage Control mode, the question for our readers is: how will this affect Lenovo’s ability to sell to the U.S. Federal supercomputing market? Dan contends that this offense occurred with different folks at an entirely different division, and that the company should be able to rebuild trust over time. Henry worries that this unfortunate situation is endemic of an unfortunate lack of concern out there about security in genera. Rich, on the other hand, thinks Superfish has sealed the company’s supercomputing doom and that Lenovo will have to build its HPC fortunes somewhere besides U.S. soil.

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RFHPC77: Archive Debacle at WGBH

In this episode, Radio Free HPC looks an archival horror story from WGBH in Boston. As the PBS affiliate attempted to move its archived video footage to the American Archive Project, the organization was horrified to discover that many of their files on LTO4 tapes were unreadable.

Does your archive strategy match up with today’s storage economics? Henry contends that this is really worth a look as the notion that “write once to tape and forget” is a recipe for disaster. In an era where this WGBH archive could easily fit on 38 hard drives, does migration to tape still make sense?

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RFHPC76: Radio Free HPC Looks at the Week in News

In this episodethe Radio Free HPC team digs into the Grab Bag for Topics of the Week”

  • Dan attended the Lenovo Analyst Conference, and they have him convinced that the company is Going Big on HPC.
  • Rich notes that D-Wave Systems has just landed an additional $29 Million in financing. Is Quantum Computing ready for Prime Time?
  • Henry is looking forward to seeing what the President’s science priorities are going to be when his budget comes out this week. 

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RFHPC75: CloudHarmony Rates Provider Service Uptime

In this episodethe Radio Free HPC team looks at CloudHarmony, an online service that measures and compares cloud provider uptime.

We simplify the comparison of cloud services by providing reliable and objective performance analysis, reports, commentary, metrics and tools.

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RF-HPC74: Modding the Student Cluster Competition

In this episodethe Radio Free HPC team discusses how they’d change the current Student Cluster Competitions in order to make them a more comprehensive test for aspiring HPC professionals.

Henry wants to codify rules that span all competitions in order to provide a level playing field and to satisfy his authoritarian nature. Dan isn’t so sure that would work, given that each of the sponsoring organizations have their own ideas about how to best run a competition. However, both of them believe that the competitions need to become more real world when it comes to systems, applications, and how they’re used. One of the first steps along this road, the guys agree, is to add a storage component to the competitions.

Since Rich isn’t around for this show, the boys take the opportunity to make fun of his Apple addiction and how Rich is probably all worried about bending his phone on his European jaunt.

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RFHPC 73: Network Security and the Big Data Breaches of 2014

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team looks at Network Security in light of the recent series of breaches at places like Sony, Home Depot, and Target

Our special guest this week is Security Expert Linda Millis, who has a day job as Senior VP of Sol-Pass.

Reports surrounding the Sony data breach are missing a simple, critical concept. Because user credentials were misused, the Sony breach is similar to the dozens of other recent breaches, from Target to Home Depot to JP Morgan, says Linda S. Millis, a security analyst with government and civilian credentials. “Lost, stolen or sold credentials caused each breach. Servers respond to authorized credentials – even if they’re lost, stolen or sold. The servers aren’t being hacked – the credentials are misappropriated,” Millis says.

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RFHPC72: A Hilarious Look at the Turing Test

beakerIn this episode, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the Turing Test for artificial intelligence. Does the Turing Test need to be retired as discussed on insideHPC, or does it just need an update for modern culture? The discussion quickly degrades into what may be our funniest show ever!

Other Big Questions tackled include:

  • Rich asks how easy would it be to fool a contestant with open-ended philosophical questions?
  • Dan asks that as we increasingly turn to Social Media for opinions and answers, could a bot fool us? If so, don’t we have the right to know who we are dealing with?
  • Could Henry Newman pass the Turing Test? Rich says the jury is still out, but Dan says there’s no way.

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RFHPC71: We Review 2014 – The Year in HPC

In this episode, Rich, Dan, and Henry review the year in HPC:
bubbleIn this podcast, Rich, Dan, and Henry review the year in HPC:

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RFHPC70: The SC14 Wrapup Show

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team wraps up the SC14 conference. It was a big week for all of us, so in the interest of time we each picked one big thing to talk about:

  • Dan was excited to announce that the University of Texas at Austin won the overall Student Cluster Competition for the third time. They are the first three-peat team in the history of the competition. Being, Dan, he couldn’t stop at one thing, so he babbled on about how synchronicity of showfloor bumpings-into might someday result in a Petaflop supercomputer the size of a dishwasher.
  • Henry’s big thing was the Micron’s Automata processor for Big Data. We all agreed on that one. Here is Rich’s interview with Paul Dlugosch from Micron, who does a great job of explaining why this thing is so revolutionary.

  • Finally, Rich is still recovering from all the video interviews he did on the show floor. His one big thing turned out to be about next year at SC15 in Austin, which has less exhibitor space than this year in New Orleans. Faced with this dilemma, the SC conference committee announced that vendors would not have the opportunity to choose their own booth space for next year. Instead, the committee will do it for them. Rich is crying foul and he is not the only one.

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RFHPC69: A Hard Look at the Two 2017 Coral Supercomputers

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team meets at SC14 in New Orleans to discuss the recent news that Nvidia & IBM will build two Coral 150+ Petaflop Supercomputers in 2017 for Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. The two machines will feature IBM POWER9 processors coupled with Nvidia’s future Volta GPU technology. NVLink will be a critical piece of the architecture as well, along with a system interconnect powered by Mellanox.

Henry thinks that IBM will have trouble delivering, and he reminds us what happened when they stumbled and pulled out of the Blue Waters deal at NCSA. Will this be the same story? Rich thinks they will come through, though probably 18 months late. Dan is being the pragmatic one this week. Go figure.

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