RFHPC162: Using Blockchain to Combat Fake News

Henry S. Newman

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at Henry Newman’s recent proposal to use Blockchain as a way to combat Fake News. Henry shares that this rant result from what he saw as an egregious story that was going around that could have been easily quashed.

“What if every audio or video app on your phone, TV news camera or your video camera automatically came set up to create blockchains that included information such as geolocation, date and time? Editing programs would also be required to use blockchain. And what if every frame that was edited had a blockchain describing what changes were made?”

While we have questions about implementation, the need for better authentication was center stage this week as Sheryl Sandberg was on Capital Hill explaining how Russia duped Facebook into running political ads.

We are now at a crossroads. The truth matters. And in the immortal words of the $6 Million Man intro, “We have the technology.” We better use that technology — and use it quickly — or we will be overcome with falsehoods and mistruths.”

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Dan announced that he is moving his ongoing news coverage of Student Cluster Competitions from The Register to HPC Wire.
  • Dan invited all 12 of our listeners to join us for our annual live podcast recording this year at SC17. The event starts at 6pm on Nov. 12 at the Guard and Grace Steak House in Denver.
  • Shahin notes that the value of Bitcoin went to $5700 recently. He cites one of the reasons is that more people are sitting on their coins and just not selling.
  • Rich pointed us to news that our friend, Ruud van der Pas from Oracle has co-authored a new book entitled: OpenMP: The Next Step.

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RFHPC161: Previewing the SC17 Plenary on Smart Cities

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at Smart Cities. As the featured topic this year at the SC17 Plenary, the Smart Cities initiative looks to improve the quality of life for residents using urban informatics and other technologies to improve the efficiency of services.

With the accelerating volume of data about cities, HPC is helping cities to optimize their services, from making food safety inspections more effective to identifying children most at risk for lead poisoning. HPC is supporting the creation of computational models of urban sectors such as transportation, energy demand, or economics. And increasingly there is opportunity—and need—to develop multi-scale, coupled modeling systems that harness new data sources and measurement techniques and that capture the interdependencies between these sectors to provide a more holistic modeling capability for urban designers, planners, and developers. This plenary panel will discuss emerging needs and opportunities suggesting an increasing role for HPC in cities, with perspectives from city government, planning and design, and embedded urban HPC systems.

The SC17 Plenary on Smart Cities takes place 5:30pm – 6:30pm on Nov. 13 at the Denver convention center.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

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RFHPC160: A Look at the TianHe-2A Supercomputer

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at China’s massive upgrade of the Tianhe-2A supercomputer to 95 Petaflops peak performance.

As detailed in a new 21-page report by Jack Dongarra from the University of Tennessee, the upgrade should nearly double the performance of the system, which is currently ranked at #2 on TOP500 with 33.86 Petaflops on the Linpack benchmark. The upgraded system, dubbed Tianhe -2A, should be completed in the coming months.

Details about the system upgrade were presented at the conference opening session. While the current system derives much of its performance from Intel Knights Corner co-processors, the new system swaps these PCI devices out for custom-made 4-way MATRIX-2000 boards, with each chip providing 2.46 Teraflops of peak performance.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Dan is rejecting the notion of a $800 IoT coffee machines that will only work with proprietary cartridges from the vendor.
  • Shahin looks at a new book that describes how the invention of air conditioning changed the face of the world.
  • Dan likes Ray Dalio’s new Radical Truth and Radical Transparencyschool of business coming to Silicon Valley.
    • There is a ritual called “public hangings,” wherein employees are taken to task in front of their co-workers. A Harvard Business School case study of one of these “hangings” includes a video of a meeting that involves a “Maoist-like struggle session where a young male ­employee was berated by a group of peers and superiors for not being good enough.” At the end of the video, the man fires himself.
  • Rich notes that Paul Messina is stepping down as Director of the DOE’s Exascale Computing Project after two years of building up the organization from scratch. Doug Kothe from ORNL will step up to the Director role for the monumental task ahead: building applications for machines that are 50x faster than on today’s biggest machines.

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RFHPC158: Insights from the new OrionX AI Survey

In this Radio Free HPC podcast, Dan Olds and Shahin Khan from OrionX describe their new AI Survey.

“OrionX Research has completed one the most comprehensive surveys to date of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. With over 300 respondents in North America, representing 13 industries, our model indicates a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 6%. Covering 144 questions/data points, it provides a comprehensive view of what customers are doing and planning to do with AI/ML/DL.”

To deliver the best in market execution and customer engagement, OrionX conducts independent research about new technologies and marketing strategies. Technology topics include AI, IoT, Blockchain, and Quantum Computing, on a foundation of Cybersecurity, HPC, and Cloud.

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RFHPC157: High Performance Interconnects

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at Dan’s recent talk on High Performance Interconnects.

When it comes to choosing an interconnect for your HPC cluster, what is the best way to go? Is offloading better than onloading? You can find out more by watching Dan’s talk from the HPC Advisory Council Australia conference.


In this video from the HPC Advisory Council Australia Conference, Dan Olds presents: High Performance Interconnects.

The good folks at OrionX.net have posted a number of free papers on this subject as well.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Pacemakers hacked! Almost half a million people in the United States are highly recommended to get their pacemakers updated, as they are vulnerable to hacking.
  • 404 Japan! Last Friday, someone in Google fat-thumbed a border gateway protocol (BGP) advertisement and sent Japanese Internet traffic into a black hole.
  • Lower prices! Amazon completed its acquisition of Whole Foods, and the first thing they did was lower prices. Listeners get Bonus Points if you can tell us what two items Henry bought on his recent shopping trip there.
  • Kids at SC17. Rich notes that SC17 will have on-site day care once again this year. Meanwhile, Dan wants to put the little munchkins to work.

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RFHPC156: Catching Up with Quantum Computing News

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at some new developments in the Quantum Computing ecosystem:

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Rich is impressed with the ASUS B250 Mining Expert motherboard that has 19 PCIe slots for GPUs.
  • Henry is feeling good about his decision to not get an Amazon Echo with this story about security vulnerabilities in Alexa. “We achieve this by transforming a smartphone into an active sonar system that emits a combination of a sonar pulse and music and listens to the reections o of humans in the environment.”
  • One of the reported hackers of the OPM was caught at LAX airport this week. The hackers gained access to millions of sensitive U.S. records from the Office of Personnel Management.

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RFHPC155: Eclipse Simulations

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team discusses the eclipse and how researchers are using supercomputers to simulate the corona of the sun at eclipse time.

Update: since we did not have the right camera equipment to record the eclipse, we bring you this simulation from Serena on Twitter:

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Shahin reports that  researchers at Northwestern University Medicine scientists and engineers have invented a range of bioactive “tissue papers” made of materials derived from organs that are thin and flexible enough to even fold into an origami bird. The new biomaterials can potentially be used to support natural hormone production in young cancer patients and aid wound healing.
    • Henry points us to a draft of NIST Standards for the IoT Internet of Things.
    • Dan reports that, in front of a crowd of thousands, an AI bot beat a professional human player at Dota 2 — one of the world’s most popular video games. The human champ, the affable Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, threw in the towel after being killed three times, saying he couldn’t beat the unstoppable bot. “It feels a little bit like human,” said Dendi. “But at the same time, it’s something else.”
  • Rich is excited for the the folks at Cycle Computing, who were acquired by Microsoft this week.

    We’ve already seen explosive growth on Azure in the areas of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and deep learning,” writes Jason Zander from Microsoft. “As customers continue to look for faster, more efficient ways to run their workloads, Cycle Computing’s depth and expertise around massively scalable applications make them a great fit to join our Microsoft team. Their technology will further enhance our support of Linux HPC workloads and make it easier to extend on-premise workloads to the cloud.”

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RFHPC154: Biohacking in the News

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks alarming new hacks of health care data.

  • Henry points us to a story about a PET scanner hack that exploited Windows 7. He thinks a better design would be to have the device send data only. Shahin thinks that this kind of problem with I0T will require us to have different approaches for “Big T” things like mainframes and “Little T” things like sensors.
  • Rich is intrigued by the recent story that biohackers were able to put malware into synthetic DNA that can infect and take over a gene sequencer device.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

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RFHPC153: A Second Look at Posit Computing

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the problems with IEEE Floating Point.

“As described in a recent presentation by John Gustafson, the flaws and idiosyncrasies of floating-point arithmetic “constitute a sizable portion of any curriculum on Numerical Analysis.” The whole thing has Dan pretty worked up, so we hope that the news of Posit Computing coming to the new processors from Rex Computing will help. The A*STAR center at the National University of Singapore will be one of the first to test out Rex machines later this month.”

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Shahin is looking into end-to-end secure cyber supply chain as an element of IoT. It turns out to be a very tough problem to solve and you have to control from the point of inception.
  • Henry points out that the US Army is reportedly banning all drones from China’s DJI. The company is one of the biggest manufacturers of drones.
  • Rich is impressed with the new 18 Petaflop Stampede 2 supercomputer at TACC. As the biggest academic supercomputer in Academia, the Dell machine is a showcase for Intel’s HPC technologies.

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RFHPC152: AI, Ethics, and Self-Driving Cars

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team learns about Henry’s first exploit as an Ethical Superhero.

“After witnessing a hit-and-run fender bender, Henry confronted the culprit and ensured that the miscreant left a note on the victim’s windshield. And while we applaud Henry for his heroism, we are also very grateful that he was not shot in the process. This tale leads us into a discussion of AI ethics and how we won’t have this problem in the coming era of self-driving cars.”

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

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