RFHPC187: Facebook Goes to Washington

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at Facebook’s testimony before Congress.

“Dan Olds and Henry Newman are the only guys on deck today, Rich and Shahin are either traveling or doing something useless. However, this episode is ground breaking. Henry and Dan agree on everything ranging from the Facebook security “scandal” to the implications of GDPR. It’s a shocking and stunning turn of events.”

We should have a full crew next week and it’s hard to believe that Dan and Henry will agree yet again, so the universe will be back in order.”

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RFHPC186: A Look Back at the 2018 GPU Technology Conference

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang unveils the DGX-2 supercomputer.

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team reviews the highlights of the GPU Technology Conference.

From Rich’s perspective, the key HPC announcement centered around new NVIDIA DGX-2 supercomputer with the NVSwitch interconnect.

The rapid growth in deep learning workloads has driven the need for a faster and more scalable interconnect, as PCIe bandwidth increasingly becomes the bottleneck at the multi-GPU system level. NVLink is a great advance to enable eight GPUs in a single server, and accelerate performance beyond PCIe. But taking deep learning performance to the next level will require a GPU fabric that enables more GPUs in a single server, and full-bandwidth connectivity between them.

NVIDIA NVSwitch is the first on-node switch architecture to support 16 fully-connected GPUs in a single server node and drive simultaneous communication between all eight GPU pairs at an incredible 300 GB/s each. These 16 GPUs can be used as a single large-scale accelerator with 0.5 Terabytes of unified memory space and 2 petaFLOPS of deep learning compute power.”

For more details on DGX-2, check out our insideHPC interview with NVIDIA’s Marc Hamilton.

Henry Newman and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

    • Henry is very proud of his new sport coat.
    • Shahin notes that the data privacy the key story these days. Facebook is on the ropes, and their CEO Mark Zuckerberg will appear before Congress this week to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytics scandal.
    • Dan is not optimistic about Apple switching to their own ARM processor for laptops. Rich notes that they have done it successfully before when they switched from POWER to Intel 12 or so years ago.
    • Rich is hitting the road once again. Stay tuned for videos from Swiss HPC Conference in Lugano and the HPC User Forum in Tucson.

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RFHPC185: Immortality through Mind Archival

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team goes off the supercomputing rails a bit with a discussion on digital immortality.

A new company called Nectome will reportedly archive your mind for future uploading to a machine.

We’re building the next generation of tools to preserve the connectome. Our ultimate ambition is to keep your memories intact for the future.

While the price of $10K seems reasonable enough, they do have to kill you to complete the process.

In this Ted Talk video, Sebastian Seung from Nectome describes how the company plans to save your mind.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

Shahin also points us to the DroneHunter, which hunts for unauthorized drones and captures them. It’s a fully-autonomous air defense mechanism. 

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RFHPC184: The Quest for Quantum Supremacy

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPCteam looks at the big three technologies of the day on the Hype curve:

  • Machine Learning. The GTC conference is coming up, and we are seeing a continuing series of announcements like the high density deep learning server from Lamda Labs.
  • Cryptocurrency. GPUs are in short supply as crypto miners continue to buy mass quantities of consumer devices.
  • Quantum Computing. This week Google unveiled their 72-Qbit Bristlecone Quantum Chip, which they claim has them on the road to Quantum Supremacy. At the same time, quantum seems to be going mainstream, as evidenced by a panel discussion this week at SXSW. You can listen to the full recording of the session on insideHPC.

Quantum Computing was the focus of a panel discussion at SXSW this week. From left: Bo Ewald (D-Wave Systems) Antia Lamas-Linares (TACC) Patricia Baumhart (D-Wave Systems) Jerry Chow (IBM) and Andrew Fursman 1Qbit.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

    • Rich notes that Ben Bennet at HPE was spotted on Twitter trying to convince the Europeans that building their own HPC chip is not a good idea.
    • Dan has enlisted Rocksmith computer technology in his quest to learn to play the guitar.
    • Shahin revisits the Department of Deep Thinking on the topic of why Computational Trust is expensive. It’s all about Faith, Fees, and Fiat. So if you happen to have Trust in your life for free, you should cherish it.

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RFHPC183: A Look at the European Processor Initiative

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the European Processor Initiative, an effort to design a build an exascale computer based around European technology.

“According to an interview in Primeur Magazine with EPI project coordinator Philippe Notton from Atos, the project involves not only a processor, but an accelerator as well. Will it be based on ARM, OpenPOWER, or something else like RISC-V? We will have to wait and see.”

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

    • Rich likes the story this week about Supergeek, the new mascot at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.
    • Shahin enjoyed giving at talk at the Stanford HPC Conference last week, and Rich notes that all the presentation videos are now posted from the event.
    • Dan likes the recent story on the origins of the HPCG benchmark, which offers an alternative way to measure the performance of the world’s top supercomputers. At the same time, Shahin reminds us that ACM Fellow David Kuck said that the minimum performance from a machine is more interesting than the maximum performance.

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RFHPC182: Diverging Chip Architectures in the Wake of Spectre and Meltdown

Paul Kocher is a Security Technology Advisor at Rambus.

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPCteam looks at the tradeoff between chip performance and security. In the aftermath of the recently disclosed Spectre and Meltdown exploits, Cryptograpy guru Paul Kocher from Rambus is calling for a divergence in processor architectures:

The direction that we need to go as an industry though is …We need to stop trying to build one processor architecture that is great for playing video games and doing wire transfers. We need to build architectures where there are cores and software stacks designed for security that can be slower, that can be simpler, and we need separate ones that are optimized for performance.”

In this video, Paul Kocher presents: Spectre – Exploiting Speculative Execution. Kocher is the lead author of the paper on the Spectre processor vulnerability.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

    • Shahin points us to a story about the first-ever photography of a single atom. Unsurprisingly, it looks like a tiny dot.
    • Henry is concerned about the story about a Canadian system administrator that intentionally blew out all the switches on a railway system. How safe is our whole transportation system?
    • Dan likes the story about Russian nuclear scientists who were arrested for mining Bitcoin with their state-owned supercomputer.
    • Rich notes that ORNL has posted their plans for Frontier, their first Exascale supercomputer. It looks like it will be fully operational in 2023.

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RFHPC181: New Leadership at HPE

Antonio Neri, CEO, HPE

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at HPE’s new CEO, Antonio Neri, a longtime HPE executive who previously served as President of the company. As the number 1 server vendor in the HPC space, this change will be one to watch as we transition to the exascale era in the next five years or so.

This transistion comes at an interesting time for HPE, as one of their main competitors, Dell Technologies, is reportedly looking at an IPO or reverse acquisition by VMware.

Closer to home in the HPC space:

  • HPE just landed a huge deal at DoD Modernization for four supercomputers totaling 14 Petaflops of performance
  • HP-CAST host Frank Baetke has left the company and will continue on as Chair of EOFS.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Henry points us to news about one of the worst Flash zero-day exploitsyet. Just turn it off, guys.
    • Apple is planning to release IOS 11.3, which will allow users to turn off their infamous throttling of iPhones in order to preserve battery life over time.
    • Henry also notes that his laptop battery life has suffered greatly since applying the Spectre/Meltdown patch.
    • Linus Torvolds seems to agree, saying that the Intel Meltdown patch is Complete and Utter Garbage. Both Intel and AMD say they will have new immune hardware by the end of the year.
  • Earlier this week, Shahin went on a big acquisition of a new home office printer, opting for a rather spendy HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M281fdw. Rich is sticking with his $30 Pantum.
  • Rich points us to a new interview with Theodore Omtzigt from Posit Research. The Singapore startup is looking to build a new kind of supercomputer based on John Gustafson’s Posit Arithmetic.
  • Dan notes that Oracle has launched Blockchain as a Service.

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RFHPC180: How NVIDIA’s new EULA Bans Consumer GPUs in the Datacenter

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at NVIDIA’s new EULA GeForce Software user license, which prohibits the use of consumer GPUs in the datacenter. We are not looking to beat up on anyone, but our focus is on what limitations this might mean for the industry:

No Datacenter Deployment. The SOFTWARE is not licensed for datacenter deployment, except that blockchain processing in a datacenter is permitted.

When we purchase hardware, aren’t we free to use it any way we please? And why do BitCoin miners get a pass during a worldwide GPU shortage?

Plus, what do we mean by the word “datacenter?” anyway? Shahin predicts the imminent proliferation of 5G networking capabilities will move computing closer to the edge, thereby changing what we mean by the term “datacenter.”

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Shahin likes the news about the Hasselblad 400 Megapixel camera with sensor-shift technology.
  • Rich points us to a D-Wave Seminar from SC17 that does a great job of explaining quantum computing and what type of applications can be adapted to take advantage of it.
  • Dan is not swayed by the news that the city of Barcelona is switching from Windows to Linux. He reminds us that Munich tried the same thing years ago and ended up switching back.

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RFHPC179: A Look at the Cryptocurrency Crash

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the recent cryptocurrency crash and why prices for these coins is so volatile.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Henry points us to a story about Boeing’s new autonomous drone that carry up to 500 pound packages for home delivery.
  • Dan notes that, after more than five years of uninterrupted business contraction, IBM on Thursday reported a quarter of growth spurred by its cloud portfolio and new mainframes and processors.
  • Rich likes the story a new patent that may solve the problems we’ve talked about with IEEE floating point arithmetic. But while the solution seems intriguing, there are some questions as to prior art.

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RFHPC178: Europe’s Big Investment in Exascale

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at European Commission’s recent move to fund exascale development with 1 Billion Euros.

While Europe already had a number of exascale initiatives under way, this is a major step forward in that it puts up the money. Under a new legal and funding structure, the Commission’s contribution will be $486 million, or roughly half of the projected EUR 1 Billion total. Before the new structure was put in place, the Commission was effectively limited to contributing only 20 percent of HPC initiatives undertaken with member states.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

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