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.

Listen in to hear the full conversation.

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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.

Listen in to hear the full conversation.

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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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