Primeur magazine

Edition: flash - Issue: 2016-04-20

Hardware

On the EPCC blog, Adrian Jackson provides some insight in on-package memory, integrated functionality, and new processor competitors. He talks about MCDRAM for Intel's upcoming Xeon Phi processor (Knights Landing), and as HBM2 on Nvidia's recently announced P100 GPU. In processor technology, he sees a number of processors that seem to be promising potential competition for Intel's next generation of server processors. IBM is back in the HPC business with Power9 processors that are adding the NVLink technology for high-speed communications with Nvidia GPUs. A number of manufacturers are also developing 64-bit server processors based on ARM designs, and AMD will be back with their APU processor. Whilst none of these are game changers for HPC, they do at least provide the potential for interesting hardware competition in the coming years. Read further...
In the German news magazine Bigdata Insider, TransTec's Oliver Tennert discusses whether in-memory technology is a threat to HPC. He thinks it is not. Actually the combination of both technologies makes it possible to speed-up big data analytics. Read further...
A multi-institution team has been using the Titan supercomputer at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to understand actinide chemistry at the molecular level in hopes of designing methods to clean up contamination and safely store spent nuclear fuel. Supercomputing plays an essential role in understanding these elements. Oak Ridge is running a background article on the research. Because of their high radioactivity, actinides are difficult to handle, and real experiments that can be performed are expensive. "These elements are really radioactive, and in many cases, there is not much of it around", professor David Dixon said. "The radioactivity part makes it very difficult to handle in a lab. We want to try and get as much information as we can about their properties before people do specific lab experiments to test out ideas and design new systems to help remediate contamination." Read further...

Industry news

On the TOP500 site, Trish Damkroger writes about the US Department of Energy's High Performance Computing for Manufacturing programme (HPC4Mfg). "In March, HPC4Mfg issued a call for a second round of industry proposals due April 21. The way the programme works, initial concept proposals are selected and paired with a national lab HPC expert to jointly develop a full proposal in June, with final selections announced in the August timeframe. The programme expects to select another 8-10 projects to the tune of about $3 million total. In this way HPC4Mfg is serving to broaden the base of users, reaching out to small and medium-sized companies that have not yet tapped the power of top-tier supercomputers", she says. "The response to the HPC4Mfg programme indicates that perceptions may be beginning to change and that the broader industrial community is recognizing that TOP500 petaflops computing is not just for high-level scientific research and national security, but also is rich with possibility for a nation's economic bottom line." Read further...