Enterprises go HPC, Chips go Open Source, China goes for the top spot

We continue to want to make these introductions pretty brief here but not this time, apparently! Here’s this week’s synopsis.

Nvidia GTC 2019 announcements

We discussed the recent GTC conference. Dan has been attending since well before it became the big and important conference that it is today. We get a quick update on what was covered: the long keynote, automotive and robotics, the Mellanox acquisition, how a growing fraction of enterprise applications will be AI.

In agreement with the message from GTC, Shahin re-iterates his long-held belief that the future of enterprise applications will be HPC and once again asserts that AI as we know it today is a subset of HPC. Not everyone agrees. Henry brings up varying precisions in AI and a discussion ensues about what is HPC. There seems to be agreement that regardless of what label you put on it, it is the same (HPC) industry and community that is driving this new trend. And that led to a discussion of selling into the enterprise and the need for new models and vocabulary and such.

Speaking of varying precision, there is also Nvidia’s new automatic mixed precision capability for Tensorflow and there is a bit of discussion on that.

China plans multibillion dollar investment in supercomputing

On the heels of the Aurora announcement, there was news in the South China Morning Post that the top spot in supercomputing is something the country is investing in. No surprise, but interesting to see, and consistent with the general view that supercomputing drives competitive strength.

Catch of the Week

Henry:

Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years

Hundreds of millions of Facebook users had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by thousands of Facebook employees — in some cases going back to 2012, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. Facebook says an ongoing investigation has so far found no indication that employees have abused access to this data.

Shahin:

MIPS R6 Architecture Now Available for Open Use

MIPS 32-bit and 64-bit architecture – the most recent version, release 6 – will become available Thursday (March 28) for anyone to download at MIPS Open web page. Under the MIPS Open program, participants have full access to the MIPS R6 architecture free of charge – with no licensing or royalty fees.

Dan:

Vengeful sacked IT bod destroyed ex-employer’s AWS cloud accounts. Now he’ll spent rest of 2019 in the clink

An irate sacked techie who rampaged through his former employer’s AWS accounts with a purloined login, nuking 23 servers and triggering a wave of redundancies, has been jailed.

 

Dead LAN’s hand: IT staff ‘locked out’ of data center’s core switch after the only bloke who could log into it dies

‘We can replace it but we have no idea what the config is on the device’

Listen in to hear the full conversation.

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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.

Listen in to hear the full conversation.

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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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RFHPC135: Azure Moves to OCP Platform

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team a set of IT and Science stories:

  • Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Ingrasys announced a new industry standard design to accelerate Artificial Intelligence in the next generation cloud. The Project Olympus hyperscale GPU accelerator chassis for AI, also referred to as HGX-1, is designed to support eight of the latest “Pascal” generation NVIDIA GPUs and NVIDIA’s NVLink high speed multi-GPU interconnect technology, and provides high bandwidth interconnectivity for up to 32 GPUs by connecting four HGX-1 together. The HGX-1 AI accelerator provides extreme performance scalability to meet the demanding requirements of fast growing machine learning workloads, and its unique design allows it to be easily adopted into existing datacenters around the world.
  • ARM comes to Azure. As another part of its Project Olympus, Azure is announced it is deploying a large number of ARM-based servers.
  • Springtime in Naples. AMD hopes to give Intel a run for its money with the new Zen-based Naples server platform. While the server benchmarks aren’t out yet, the desktop Zen chips have shown impressive applications performance for less money than Intel I7 chips.
  • Huawei Ranks Third Globally for 2016 Q4 Server Shipments. Gartner is out with surprising server market news that shows Huawei showing up at #3 in terms of shipments in 4Q2016. The numbers don’t seem to jive with what IDC says, but an 88 percent jump in severs sales quarter-to-quarter is great news for Huawei.
  • IBM’s Atomic Storage. This week, IBM announced it has created the world’s smallest magnet using a single atom – and stored one bit of data on it. Currently, hard disk drives use about 100,000 atoms to store a single bit. The ability to read and write one bit on one atom creates new possibilities for developing significantly smaller and denser storage devices, that could someday, for example, enable storing the entire iTunes library of 35 million songs on a device the size of a credit card.

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