RFHPC179: A Look at the Cryptocurrency Crash

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the recent cryptocurrency crash and why prices for these coins is so volatile.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Henry points us to a story about Boeing’s new autonomous drone that carry up to 500 pound packages for home delivery.
  • Dan notes that, after more than five years of uninterrupted business contraction, IBM on Thursday reported a quarter of growth spurred by its cloud portfolio and new mainframes and processors.
  • Rich likes the story a new patent that may solve the problems we’ve talked about with IEEE floating point arithmetic. But while the solution seems intriguing, there are some questions as to prior art.

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RFHPC178: Europe’s Big Investment in Exascale

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at European Commission’s recent move to fund exascale development with 1 Billion Euros.

While Europe already had a number of exascale initiatives under way, this is a major step forward in that it puts up the money. Under a new legal and funding structure, the Commission’s contribution will be $486 million, or roughly half of the projected EUR 1 Billion total. Before the new structure was put in place, the Commission was effectively limited to contributing only 20 percent of HPC initiatives undertaken with member states.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

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RFHPC177: A Closer Look at the Spectre and Meltdown Exploits

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the performance ramifications of the Spectre and Meltdown exploits that affect processors from Intel, AMD, and many others. While patches are on the way, the performance hit from these patches could be as high as twenty or thirty percent in some cases.

For information and links to useful resources, visit the security research findings page on Intel.com.

Download the White Paper: How the Meltdown and Spectre bugs work and what you can do to prevent a performance plummet.

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RFHPC176: Things Not Invited Back in 2018

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team reviews their list of things Not Invited Back in 2018. Along the way, they share some of their New Year Resolutions.

Not Invited Back for 2018:

  • Henry want to see an end to Swatting.
  • Dan wants to see an end to IEEE Floating-Point Arithmetic
  • Rich is not inviting PEZY back since their CEO got arrested for padding expense reports and bilking the Japanese government.

2018 Resolutions:

Shahin is not inviting back Fake News. Here he shares his resolutions for better social media:

  1. Recognize that sharing is a reward, so keep that in mind. Don’t publicize what doesn’t deserve publicity.
  2. Fact check before you share.
  3. Welcome high quality disagreement

Dan resolves to do the following in 2018:

  • Stop inserting incorrect statements into the Wikipedia
  • He also resolves to come up with better excuses.
  • To keep life interesting, he plans to start expect more from people, especially strangers.

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RFHPC174: Our 2018 Technology Predictions

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team reviews 2017 Technology Predictions from OrionX.

While all the numbers are not in yet, here are the OrionX 2017 predictions look to be true:

  • Azure will grow faster than AWS. While the big three are all growing, Azure seems to be growing at the fastest rate. Microsoft has also made progress in the HPC Cloud space with Azure, including the acquisition of Cycle Computing.
  • More chips than Vegas; riskier too. There are something like 26 AI chips in development, much more than the market can sustain.
  • Server revenue growth will be lower than GDP growth. Quarterly numbers suggest this trend is continuing.
  • ARM server market share will stay below 3 percent. We saw a lot of ARM hardware at SC17, but it will take a while for sales to make a dent in the server market.

After that, we do our 2018 Predictions:

  • Henry predicts:
    • Security hacks will get even worse this coming year, with at least five major breaches in 2018.
    • By the end of next year, quantum computing will be on our doorstep with a number of announcements by big vendors and people are going to jump on the bandwagon.
  • Rich predicts:
    • We will finally see an ARM-based system on the TOP500 in 2018. Henry thinks there will be as many as 10.
    • Project Cyclops will actually have an HPCG benchmark in 2018.
    • Cray Inc will be acquired by Microsoft in late 2018. Dan thinks it could be someone else by the end of the year.
  • Shahin predicts:
    • 5G networks will be a game-changer in a number of market segments  in 2018.
    • The future is IoT, Blockchain, AI, and quantum, where machines will do the majority of the creating, consuming, and paying. Humans will not even be in the loop.
  • Dan predicts:
    • More diversity in systems, where the homogeneous datacenter starts to go away with FPGA-accelerated systems purpose-built for specific applications.
    • He also plugs his 12 Days of Christmas Rage video that came out on Christmas Day.

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RFHPC173: Saying Goodbye to Net Neutrality

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the FCC’s move to abolish Net Neutrality regulations put in place during the Obama administration. Dan thinks this is a good move to remove unnecessary regulations, but rest of the crew is worried about where this will lead the future of the Internet.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Dan notes that Lenovo’s new SuperMUC-NG supercomputer coming to LRZ Germany will sport nearly 27 Petaflops of computing power.
  • Rich points us a presentation about the “GPU Killer” TPU2 processor that Google developed for processing AI workloads.
  • Shahin reiterates that we really need a set of different names for FLOPS with varying precision, as they are not all created equal.
    • He also notes there are dozens of chips in the works that are looking to take advantage of the hot AI market.
    • IBM announced their new IBM Q network with JP Morgan for research into industrial applications for quantum computing.
    • We now have new buzzwords: Y to Q (years to quantum), quantum supremacy, and quantum-safe cryptography.
  • Henry points us to yet another hacker story about a security hole in DirectTV boxes.

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RFHPC172: A Look at the New Power9, Titan V, and Snapdragon 845

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at all new fast devices that came to market this week for HPC.

IBM Power9 Servers are here! Launched this week, the AC922 POWER9 servers will form the basis of the world’s fastest “Coral” supercomputers coming to ORNL and LLNL. Built specifically for compute-intensive AI workloads, the new POWER9 systems are capable of improving the training times of deep learning frameworks by nearly 4x allowing enterprises to build more accurate AI applications, faster.

NVIDIA Titan V brings Volta to the Desktop. Not to be outdone, NVIDIA introduced their new high end TITAN V GPU for desktop PCs. Powered by the Volta architecture, TITAN V excels at computational processing for scientific simulation. Its 21.1 billion transistors deliver 110 teraflops of raw horsepower, 9x that of its predecessor, and extreme energy efficiency.

Snapdragon 845 chip based on the ARM architecture brings AI inference to your smartphone. With A75 CPU cores clocking as high as 2.8 GHz, the new architecture also enables it to maintain the same level of performance with a 30% power reduction.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

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RFHPC171: Controversy in the Irish Supercomputing List

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at a controversy stirred up by the recent Irish Supercomputing List.

The 9th Irish Supercomputer List was released this week. For the first time, Ireland has four computers ranked on the Top500 and Ireland is now ranked number one globally in terms of number of TOP500 supercomputers per capita.

Controversy: Since the publication of the List, a third party called the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) has expressed concerns that the press release issued by the Irish Supercomputing List is misleading. You can read their opinion here.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Henry (with a certain measure of glee) points us to the story of the Root password security hole in Mac OS High Sierra. Why should Windows have all the fun?
  • Shahin reports that Amazon continues to add things like bare metal and other improvements to AWS. This week they introduced a Deep Learning camera for developers that comes preloaded with a Deep Lens environment for object recognition and machine learning. While this is a step in the right direction, Shahin thinks that there will be insufficient data going forward to train all the AI systems we want.

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RFHPC170: Wrapping Up the SC17 Student Cluster Competition

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team goes over the results of the SC17 Student Cluster Competition. This year, Nanyang Technological University from Singapore took the Top Prize.

Team Nanyang took the top spot at the SC17 Student Cluster Competition

“The Student Cluster Competition was developed in 2007 to immerse undergraduate and high school students in high performance computing. Student teams design and build small clusters, with hardware and software vendor partners, learn designated scientific applications, apply optimization techniques for their chosen architectures, and compete in a non-stop, 48-hour challenge, at the SC conference, to complete a real-world scientific workload, while impressing conference attendees and interview judges with their HPC knowledge.”

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

In this video, Dan Olds from OrionX interviews Team Nanyang, this year’s champions of the SC17 Student Cluster Competition.

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