“A new data type called a “posit” is designed for direct drop-in replacement for IEEE Standard 754 floats. Unlike unum arithmetic, posits do not require interval-type mathematics or variable size operands, and they round if an answer is inexact, much the way floats do. However, they provide compelling advantages over floats, including simpler hardware implementation that scales from as few as two-bit operands to thousands of bits. For any bit width, they have a larger dynamic range, higher accuracy, better closure under arithmetic operations, and simpler exception-handling. For example, posits never overflow to infinity or underflow to zero, and there is no “Not-a-Number” (NaN) value. Posits should take up less space to implement in silicon than an IEEE float of the same size. With fewer gate delays per operation as well as lower silicon footprint, the posit operations per second (POPS) supported by a chip can be significantly higher than the FLOPs using similar hardware resources. GPU accelerators, in particular, could do more arithmetic per watt and per dollar yet deliver superior answer quality.”
In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at recent developments in the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal. According to reports, auto parts supplier Bosch wrote the software for VW that enabled the company’s diesel vehicles to cheat on emissions tests. We know because Bosch asked VW for indemnity back in 2006.
Rich also provides a quick preview of the HPC Advisory Council Stanford Conference, which starts Tuesday, February 7 in Palo Alto. Our own Shahin Khan of OrionX will be one of the featured speakers. His talk is entitled: Industry Insights: Hot Technology Topics in 2017.
Abstract: From BitCoins and AltCoins to Design Thinking, Autonomous tech and the changing nature of jobs, IoT and cyber risk, and the impact of application architecture on cloud computing, we’ll touch on some of the hottest technologies in 2017 that are changing the world and how HPC will be the engine that drives it.
In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team speaks to our special guest for the week: Binnie Coppersmith, also known as Henry’s Mom. It’s Binnie’s 80th birthday, and Dan wants to know once and for all if Henry is an alien, or at least why he is the way he is. It’s a heart-warming story to be sure, and we even find out how Henry almost became the ambassador to some far off country.
After that, we look at the good news that The UberCloud has received $1.7 Million in Pre-A Series funding. It’s great news for HPC in the Cloud.
In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at two hot stories from last week:
Cray to Develop ARM-based Isambard Supercomputer for UK Met Office. The GW4 Alliance, together with Cray and the UK Met Office, has been awarded £3m by EPSRC to deliver a new Tier 2 HPC service for UK-based scientists. This unique new service, named ‘Isambard’ after the renowned Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, will provide multiple advanced architectures within the same system in order to enable evaluation and comparison across a diverse range of hardware platforms.
Steve Pawlowski presentation from Persistent Memory Summit. “As data proliferation continues to explode, computing architectures are struggling to get the right data to the processor efficiently, both in terms of time and power. But what if the best solution to the problem is not faster data movement, but new architectures that can essentially move the processing instructions into the data? Persistent memory arrays present just such an opportunity. Like any significant change, however, there are challenges and obstacles that must be overcome. Industry veteran Steve Pawlowski will outline a vision for the future of computing and why persistent memory systems have the potential to be more revolutionary than perhaps anyone imagines.”
In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at D-Wave’s new open source software for quantum computing. The software is available on github along with a whitepaper written by Cray Research alums Mike Booth and Steve Reinhardt.
D-Wave Systems released the open-source, quantum software tool as part of its strategic initiative to build and foster a quantum software development ecosystem. The new tool, qbsolv, enables developers to build higher-level tools and applications leveraging the quantum computing power of systems provided by D-Wave, without the need to understand the complex physics of quantum computers.
Just as a software ecosystem helped to create the immense computing industry that exists today, building a quantum computing industry will require software accessible to the developer community,” said Bo Ewald, president, D-Wave International Inc. “D-Wave is building a set of software tools that will allow developers to use their subject-matter expertise to build tools and applications that are relevant to their business or mission. By making our tools open source, we expand the community of people working to solve meaningful problems using quantum computers.”
Rich notes that Cray has announced the appointment of Stathis Papaefstathiou to the position of senior vice president of research and development. He fills the slot vacated by Peg Williams, who will retire.
This year, the advent of clusters with the new Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs made a huge impact, nearly tripling the Linpack record for the competition.
The Student Cluster Competition returned for its 10th year at SC16, The competition which debuted at SC07 in Reno and has since been replicated in Europe, Asia and Africa, is a real-time, non-stop, 48-hour challenge in which teams of six undergraduates assemble a small cluster at SC16 and race to complete a real-world workload across a series of scientific applications, demonstrate knowledge of system architecture and application performance, and impress HPC industry judges. The students partner with vendors to design and build a cutting-edge cluster from commercially available components, not to exceed a 3120-watt power limit and work with application experts to tune and run the competition codes.
For the first-time ever, the team that won top honors also won the award for achieving highest performance for the Linpack benchmark application. The team “SwanGeese” is from the University of Science and Technology of China. In traditional Chinese culture, the rare Swan Goose stands for teamwork, perseverance and bravery. This is the university’s third appearance in the competition.
Also, an ACM SIGHPC Certificate of Appreciation is presented to the authors of a recent SC paper to be used for the SC16 Student Cluster Competition Reproducibility Initiative. The selected paper was “A Parallel Connectivity Algorithm for de Bruijn Graphs in Metagenomic Applications” by Patrick Flick, Chirag Jain, Tony Pan and Srinivas Aluru from Georgia Institute of Technology.
After that, we go round-robin for our Catch of the Week:
Henry is worked up about a set of stories of self-driving cars getting hacked. What happens when your autocar gets hacked and gets into an accident?