Is Our Future Liquid Cooled? Also: Provenance of Surveillance Data!

The Veracity and Provenance of Surveillance Data

Controversy strikes when news breaks that “Amazon’s home security company Ring has enlisted local police departments around the country to advertise its surveillance cameras in exchange for free Ring products and a “portal” that allows police to request footage from these cameras, a secret agreement obtained by Motherboard shows.”

The nature of such agreements can, well, garner national attention, as we see here (and do our part). That kind of attention led to the PD cited in the news in Lakeland, FL, to clarify its relationship with Ring, saying “their agreement isn’t about fostering a particular brand of doorbell, but rather any tool that helps crime-fighting.” Several important topics come up which can easily kindle, if not ignite, passions, and they do here also.

All of this is because the evidentiary benefits of actual images is not in doubt. Or is it?! An important issue in this day and age is the veracity and provenance of video feeds, which are liable to be complete fabrications. Welcome to the digital age!

New Supercomputer in Austria

A new system built by Lenovo checks in at #82 on the TOP500 list and is liquid cooled, leading to a debate on the future of cooling and various forms of liquid-cooling: direct contact, immersion, phase chance. Dan puts Henry and Shahin on the spot to look in the crystal ball and see if they can see it as clearly as he does. He thinks they failed.

VSC-4 from Lenovo is Austria’s most powerful supercomputer

Catch of the Week

Henry:

Apple looks ahead to 5G with purchase of Intel’s smartphone-modem unit

Apple is paying Intel $1 billion for the chip maker’s smartphone-modem division in a deal driven by the upcoming transition to the next generation of wireless technology.

The agreement announced Thursday comes three months after Apple AAPL, -2.12%   ended a long-running dispute with one of Intel’s rivals, Qualcomm QCOM, -0.07%  . That ensured Apple would have a pipeline of chips it needs for future iPhones to work on ultrafast wireless networks known as 5G.

The Apple-Qualcomm truce prompted Intel INTC, -1.91%   to abandon its attempts to make chips for 5G modems, effectively putting that part of its business up for grabs.

Shahin:

Shahin talks about Stephen Wolfram‘s blog describing his appearance before a US Senate committee.

Testifying at the Senate about A.I.-Selected Content on the Internet

Three and a half weeks ago I got an email asking me if I’d testify at a hearing of the US Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. Given that the title of the hearing was “Optimizing for Engagement: Understanding the Use of Persuasive Technology on Internet Platforms” I wasn’t sure why I’d be relevant.

But then the email went on: “The hearing is intended to examine, among other things, whether…

Dan:

An entire nation just got hacked

(CNN) – Asen Genov is pretty furious. His personal data was made public this week after records of more than 5 million Bulgarians got stolen by hackers from the country’s tax revenue office.

In a country of just 7 million people, the scale of the hack means that just about every working adult has been affected.

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Is Cloud Too Expensive for HPC?

Is cloud too expensive for HPC?

Enquiring minds want to know, as does the HPC community whose single-minded obsession with maximum price-performance is notorious and legendary. The Radio Free team looks at actual cloud pricing based on available data and Dan’s research which fuel a hearty discussion.

They look at configurations, compare prices, talk about the costs that are not included, segment the market, and then segment the applications.

Catch of the Week

Henry:

Henry highlights of the importance of having external 3rd party teams and defined processes (FIPS, Common Criteria, GDPR, etc.) test your equipment. This follows the detection of vulnerabilities in a data center class SSD. Nobody can disagree with that, of course.

Shahin:

Reflections on Trusting Trust, Turing Award Lecture by Ken Thompson

To what extent should one trust a statement that a program is free of Trojan horses? Perhaps it is more important to trust the people who wrote the software.

[…]

In college, before video games, we would amuse our- selves by posing programming exercises. One of the favorites was to write the shortest self-reproducing pro- gram. Since this is an exercise divorced from reality, the usual vehicle was FORTRAN. Actually, FORTRAN was the language of choice for the same reason that three-legged races are popular.

 

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Amdahl’s Law and GPUs, Asian Student Cluster Competition

Results of the Asian Student Cluster Competition

In this episode, Dan has just come back from China and reviews the results of the Asian Student Cluster Competition and HPC workshop.
For the first time, a non-mainland-Chinese team wins the top spot. Taiwan takes the gold in part by their stellar performance in HPCG benchmark where they achieved 2 TFlops, some 25% better than the 2nd best team. The system was a 5-node cluster with Infiniband FDR interconnect. Other interesting info is shared on various codes and configurations.

GPUs and Amdahl’s Law

Dan also mentions that reports from some of the TOP500 sites suggest that GPUs are doing 93-97% of the computation. This sounds very impressive but Shahin points out that since GPUs have hundreds of cores, they should be doing much better, that 93-97% is in fact not as good as it should be at that scale of system and problem size. He is still waiting for some actual utilization data on GPUs too.

Catch of the Week

Henry:

Henry points out many security cameras, offered by several brands but are all manufactured by the same vendor back in China, have big time vulnerabilities so he’s staying away from all of them until further notice. Shahin wonders why they are called “security” cameras!

P2P Weakness Exposes Millions of IoT Devices

A peer-to-peer (P2P) communications technology built into millions of security cameras and other consumer electronics includes several critical security flaws that expose the devices to eavesdropping, credential theft and remote compromise, new research has found.

Shahin:

Shahin talks about Jaguar-Land Rover planning to offer a cryptocurrency wallet to reward drivers that participate in providing traffic and other types of data. He likes their catch phrase: zero emission, zero accident, zero congestion.

Drivers will be able to earn cryptocurrency and make payments on the move using innovative connected car services being tested by Jaguar Land Rover.

 

Dan:

Dan laments the confiscation of his external camera battery at the airport in China because the spec label was a little worn off and the authorities could not read it to ascertain its safety despite his willingness to get a note from the airline, etc.  Nice expensive battery, but at a medium-sized paperback book, maybe following the rules strictly is not a bad idea.

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Multicore Scaling Slow Down, and Fooling AI

The team has an animated discussion about multicore scaling, how easy it seems to be to mislead AI systems, and some good sized catches of the week. A common thread is “data” as is often the case these days.

Dan makes a couple of important announcements.

First is the idea that is brewing about revamping the podcast.

Second, to the dismay of the vast number of his supporters, is his decision to not run for the highest office in 2020!

We continue with making these introductions pretty brief here. This time, we include not only the links but also the first paragraph of the linked page as a block quote so you have a bit more information about what is discussed.

Specialized Chips Won’t Save Us From Impending ‘Accelerator Wall’

As CPU performance improvements have slowed down, we’ve seen the semiconductor industry move towards accelerator cards to provide dramatically better results. Nvidia has been a major beneficiary of this shift, but it’s part of the same trend driving research into neural network accelerators, FPGAs, and products like Google’s TPU. These accelerators have delivered tremendous performance boosts in recent years, raising hopes that they present a path forward, even as Moore’s law scaling runs out. A new paper suggests this may be less true than many would like.

 

Nice ‘AI solution’ you’ve bought yourself there. Not deploying it direct to users, right? Here’s why maybe you shouldn’t

Top tip: Ask your vendor what it plans to do about adversarial examples.

RSA It’s trivial to trick neural networks into making completely incorrect decisions, just by feeding them dodgy input data, and there are no foolproof ways to avoid this, a Googler warned today.

 

Catch of the Week

MyEquifax.com Bypasses Credit Freeze PIN

Most people who have frozen their credit files with Equifax have been issued a numeric Personal Identification Number (PIN) which is supposed to be required before a freeze can be lifted or thawed. Unfortunately, if you don’t already have an account at the credit bureau’s new myEquifax portal, it may be simple for identity thieves to lift an existing credit freeze at Equifax and bypass the PIN armed with little more than your, name, Social Security number and birthday.

 

Announcing the Open Sourcing of Windows Calculator

Today, we’re excited to announce that we are open sourcing Windows Calculator on GitHub under the MIT License. This includes the source code, build system, unit tests, and product roadmap. Our goal is to build an even better user experience in partnership with the community. We are encouraging your fresh perspectives and increased participation to help define the future of Calculator.

 

Huawei Sues The US, Prodding It to Prove Suspicions

THE WORLD’S LARGEST telecommunications-equipment company, China’s Huawei, is suing the US government. But the suit isn’t just about US law. It’s part of Huawei’s larger campaign to defend its role as a global provider of telecom gear amid fears that its technology is or could be used by the Chinese government for spying. In essence, Huawei is challenging the US government to prove its suspicions.

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China Exascale Again (Tianhe-3 is coming), GDPR shows its teeth

After a short talk about the weather in Henry’s basement (it had just reached 60 F by the time we recorded the show), we got right down to business with an important announcement:  our pal Rich Brueckner is leaving the show. He just has too much on his plate and something had to give.

While we’re worried about the impact Rich’s departure might have on our listenership, we did take note of and welcome listeners 13, 14, and 15, who made themselves known to Henry on one of his recent business trips. Yay us.

Our first topic is China rolling out a successor to Tianhe-1, dubbed Tianhe-3. According to news articles, Tianhe-3 will be 200 times faster than Tianhe-1, with 100x more storage. What we don’t know is if these comparisons are relative to Tianhe-1 or Tianhe 1A. The later machine weighs in at 2.256 PFlop/s which means that Tianhe-3 might be as fast as 450 PFlop/s when complete. We also made a reference to a past episode, which we know you remember vividly, where we discussed China’s three-pronged strategy for exascale.

As we’re moving into our popular “Catch of the Week” segment, Shahin hijacks the conversation by questioning if anyone knows the real-world utilization rates of non-commodity configurations in public clouds. This leads to this bold estimate from Dan “I’ll bet that there isn’t a public cloud out there that has a higher than 60-65% utilization rate.” We have a spirited discussion about this pseudo-metric and how infrastructures are sized to handle peaks. We also brought up a story that malware can bring down public clouds, although someone would have to own your system before doing it.

Catch of the Week:

  1. Henry hipped us to a website that shows whether your email address or password have been powned: https://haveibeenpwned.com/
  2. Shahin brought up Google’s recent 50 million euro fine for GDPR violations:
  3. Dan discussed the case of a Dutch surgeon who won a landmark case to get her medical disciplinary records removed from Google searches.

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