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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HPC Market Eyes $44B in 5 Years

HPC Market Eyes $44B

New report from Hyperion Research has the HPC+AI market growing to $44B, with a B, in 5 years. The industry is hitting on all cylinders, benefiting from

  • The ExaScale race,
  • AI coming to the enterprise only to find that it needs, or really is, HPC, depending on your point of view, and
  • it’s usual, sometimes slow but always steady, growth

The big news continues to be AI fundamentally bringing HPC closer to the mainstream of enterprise computing whether it is on-prem, in a co-location facility, or in a public cloud.

All of this is starting big changes in the industry. We see this in mergers and acquisitions (basically new companies), new technologies, new architectures, and new business models. An example of the latter is the loosening of chip licensing, with open source models starting to get attention. Unlike open source software, however, silicon needs a fab, and the necessary electronic design automation software applications don’t have equivalent open source alternatives.

Catch of the Week

Henry:

Following a supply chain security breach, Henry predicts that standards bodies like NIST and ISO will become even more active in this area with guidelines for hardware, software, and processes.

Shahin:

Shahin talks about Apple’s design chief, Jony Ive, leaving the company and shares some jokes on social media that fall flat for Dan and Henry, who probably claim it has nothing to do with them being such PC aficionados.

Jony Ive, Designer Who Made Apple Look Like Apple, Is Leaving to Start a Firm

Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer and one of the most influential executives in the history of the Silicon Valley giant, is leaving the company. Mr. Ive will depart this year to start his own design company, Apple said on Thursday. Through his new firm, LoveFrom, Mr. Ive will continue to work on a wide range of Apple products, the company said.

Dan:

Dan concludes the show without a “catch” this week!

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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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Black Hole Seen, with Data to Match

Here’s this week’s synopsis.

Black Holes Visualized

The news of the cool visualization of an actual black hole leads to interesting issues in HPC land. Shahin is at pains to give credit where it is due while considering it as an achievement in data visualization not unlike many others before it. Yes, it’s about a fascinating topic, but that’s also not unlike many others in the past.
But the team moves on to the real point: the size of the radio data that had to be collected and managed and processed to visualize it. 1.75 PB of raw data from each telescope meant a lot of physical drives that had to be flown to the data center. Henry leads a discussion about the race between bandwidth and data size, various companies’ plans to launch thousands of satellites to help get away from sneakernet, and the imminent arrival of 5G. We’ve discussed large scale data movement in previous episodes and think it’s an important issue for HPC, AI, and Cloud.

Catch of the Week

Henry:

That sneakernet discussion above is it for Henry this week.

Shahin:

Mapping Space Debris (video)

LeoLabs is a company that maps objects in the low Earth orbit (LEO). The visdeo shows actual trajectories of 12,401 low Earth objects in space being tracked on August 24, 2017 by LeoLabs’ phased array radars. Video loop shows approx 2 hours of data.

Dan:

Scientists put human gene into monkeys to make them smarter, human-like

Making monkeys more smart and human-like, scientists have used gene-editing to insert human brain gene in a monkey.

For the first time, a team of Chinese scientists made use of gene-editing techniques to make monkey brains more human-like. By the end, the monkeys, rhesus macaques, got smarter and had superior memories as compared to the unaltered monkeys.

The team doubts this is a true story and that leads Shahin to his first rant on the show when he complains about previously reputable publications succumbing to clickbait.

We’re More Likely Than Not Living In A Computer Simulation, MIT Professor Suggests

An MIT professor has said he believes it’s “more likely than not” that we are living in some kind of simulated universe, given that we ourselves are not far away from being capable of creating hyper-realistic simulations ourselves.

Yet another story that raises eyebrows. This one leads the RFHPC team to create a new award on the spot!

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Nvidia, Mellanox: Married!

Big news in the industry today was Nvidia buying Mellanox for $6.9B. This called fo an emergency session of our crack panel.

While it will be several months before the full impact of this merger is felt, the RFHPC team believes this will change both the HPC and the Datacenter markets. It also signals Nvidia’s journey towards becoming more of a systems company and gives them a better shot at the enterprise AI market.

This is also good news for all the alternatives in the market, Shahin and Henry believe. There are a large number of AI chips in the works around the globe, and a growing number of interconnect options on the market. They will now have a chance to present themselves as a more neutral option.

Since the combined company will now represent a bigger portion of the total bill, it has a strengthened hand in the face of growing competition, while, on the other hand, becoming a more visible part of the total system cost, inviting new competition.

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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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