RFHPC141: Results from the ASC17 Student Cluster Competition

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team reviews the results from the ASC17 Student Cluster Competition finals in Wuxi, China. In the end, Tsinghua University won the overall competition, beating 20 teams from around the world.

“As the world’s largest supercomputing competition, ASC17 received applications from 230 universities around the world, 20 of which got through to the final round held this week at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi after the qualifying rounds. During the final round, the university student teams were required to independently design a supercomputing system under the precondition of a limited 3000W power consumption. They also had to operate and optimize standard international benchmark tests and a variety of cutting-edge scientific and engineering applications including AI-based transport prediction, genetic assembly, and material science. Moreover, they were required to complete high-resolution maritime simulation on the world’s fastest supercomputer, Sunway TaihuLight.

The grand champion, team Tsinghua University, completed deep parallel optimization of the high-resolution maritime data simulation mode MASNUM on TaihuLight, expanding the original program up to 10,000 cores and speeding up the program by 392 times. This helped the Tsinghua University team win the e Prize award. MASNUM was nominated in 2016 for the Gordon Bell Prize, the top international prize in the supercomputing applications field.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Henry points us to the Google Docs security breach. They claim they have fixed the problem, but don’t open those shared docs!
  • Shahin likes a new story about AI-enhanced justice in the court systems where they look at setting bail and the risks associated with the defendant.
  • Dan was having trouble with slow internet and two-factor authentication, which sounds like a vicious circle.
  • Rich notes that Andrew Klein from Backblaze will present at MSST on what they’ve learned about hard drives over the years including failure rates by model, and the ability to predict drive failure before it happens.

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RFHPC140: Catching up with the Exascale Computing Project

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at a recent update on the Exascale Computing Project by Paul Messina.

“The Exascale Computing Project (ECP) was established with the goals of maximizing the benefits of HPC for the United States and accelerating the development of a capable exascale computing ecosystem. The ECP is a collaborative effort of two U.S. Department of Energy organizations – the Office of Science (DOE-SC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).”

Recent milestones include:

  • PathForward will soon announce six awards to vendors to develop new technologies that will be instrumental in Exascale system development.
  • The ECP Industry Council met for the first time recently with C-Level executives from industry to lay our application requirements for exascale systems. The end goal is to improve industrial competitiveness in the United States.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Shahin is impressed by the new Wolfram Data Depository, a public resource that hosts an expanding collection of computable datasets, curated and structured to be suitable for immediate use in computation, visualization, analysis and more. Building on the Wolfram Data Framework and the Wolfram Language, the Wolfram Data Repository provides a uniform system for storing data and making it immediately computable and useful. With datasets of many types and from many sources, the Wolfram Data Repository is built to be a global resource for public data and data-backed publication.
  • Henry informs us to always tug on the front panel of your ATM before using. “Once you understand how easy and common it is for thieves to attach “skimming” devices to ATMs and other machines that accept debit and credit cards, it’s difficult not to closely inspect and even tug on the machines before using them.”

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RFHPC139: A Preview of the 2017 MSST Mass Storage Conference

Matthew O’Keefe is the Program Chair of the MSST Conference

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team discusses the upcoming MSST Mass Storage Conference with Program Chair Matthew O’Keefe from Oracle. The conference takes place May 15-19 in Santa Clara, California.

Since the conference was founded by the leading national laboratories, MSST has been a venue for massive-scale storage system designers and implementers, storage architects, researchers, and vendors to share best practices and discuss building and securing the world’s largest storage systems for high-performance computing, web-scale systems, and enterprises.

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RFHPC138: A Look at Quantum Startup Rigetti Computing

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the week’s top stories:

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RFHPC136: Can the USA Return to HPC Leadership Over China?

In this podcast, Radio Free HPC looks at a recent report that the USA needs to take aggresive action to keep up with China in High Performance Computing. Produced by the NSA-DOE Technical Meeting on High Performance Computing, the report states that we need to change course now or the U.S. will lose leadership and not control its own future in HPC.

Download the report on U.S. Leadership in High Performance Computing (PDF)

After that, Dan does our Catch of the Week:

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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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RFHPC134: A Look at Storj Blockchain Technology for Cloud Storage

In this podcast, Radio Free HPC looks at a Startup called Storj, which will pay you to use your excess data capacity as cloud-based storage based on Blockchain technology.

“Our mission is to rethink cloud storage, to provide the security, privacy, and transparency it’s missing. That’s why we are building an open-source cloud platform, that aim to fundamentally change the way people and devices own data.”

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Rich notes that Intel Skylake processors are exclusively available on the Google Compute Platform. With support for AVX-512, this is a big deal for compute intensive workloads.
  • SHA-1 hacked! Henry points us to this story that the ‘First ever’ SHA-1 hash collision has been calculated. As processors and algorithms advance, this could be a big problem.
  • Dan is impressed with the efforts of the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, who enable you to turns the tables on Phone Scammers and keep them on the line wasting their time instead of yours.
  • Dan tells us that Tekboost has great prices on refurbished dual-CPU workstations. He got one for his wife shortly after getting himself a new car.

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RFHPC133: Dan’s Daughter Gives us the Scoop from Washington, D.C.

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team hosts Dan’s daughter Elizabeth. How did Dan get this way? We’re on a mission to find out even as Elizabeth complains of the early onset of Curmudgeon’s Syndrome. Somehow she has turned out well, though, and has a great gig with an Oil company in Washington, D.C., so we also get her take on what is going on in the Nation’s capital.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

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RFHPC132: A Look at the Posit and Next Generation Computer Arithmetic

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team discusses a recent presentation by John Gustafson on Next Generation Computer Arithmetic.

“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.”

Watch the presentation video

After that, do our Catch of the Week:

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RFHPC131: A Look at VW, Bosch and Dieselgate

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.

In other news:

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Henry points us to a Register story that the Soros Group has purchased Violin Memory for $14 Million. What does a hedge fund want with a flash memory company? Rich and Dan think it’s a patent play.
  • Shahin points us to the story about a Chimera story about how scientists are injecting human stem cells into pigs in order to harvest organs that will not be rejected by the human immune system.
  • Dan is looking into EGPUs for accelerating desktop video applications. He can’t seem to get his enclosure working with Windows 10.
  • Rich points us to the news that Hexagon AB from Sweden is purchasing MSC Software.
  • 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.

Download the Full Conference Program for the HPC Advisory Council Stanford Conference. Register now.

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