HPC Roundup: TACC, Blue Waters, Cray

Supercomputing action: Cray cabinets for Blue Waters installed at NCSA , Texas Advanced Computing Center receives $10 million commitment, Cray forms business unit in China for training and sales.

John Rath

February 24, 2012

3 Min Read
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Here’s a roundup of some of this week’s headlines from the High Performance Computing (HPC) sector:

NCSA and Cray advance Blue Waters. The Cray XE6 cabinets continue to be installed at the University of Illinois National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).  With around 15 percent of the Blue Waters "Early Science System" in place select scientific teams are expected to begin research on the system in March. The NCSA Facebook page has photo galleries and updates of the Cray cabinet installations and updates. The NCSA recently formed a software development partnership with Adaptive Computing, a HPC workload management solution provider. "Adaptive Computing is taking advantage of a new partnership category for software developers," says Merle Giles, leader of NCSA's Private Sector Program. "We think these partnerships will help develop an important three-way dialogue among software developers, industrial end users, and large HPC providers like NCSA." File transfer service Globus Online was selected by NCSA for a file transfer solution to be used by Blue Waters users.  NCSA awarded the Blue Waters project to Cray last November and last month the Blue Waters data center, the National Petascale Computing Facility (NPCF) earned a Gold-level certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating program.

Texas Advanced Computing Center receives $10 million.  The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has receeived a $10 million commitment from the O'Donnell Foundation to advance its data-intensive science capabilities. The funds will be used to support new data infrastructure plans for a high-performance, petascale data storage system that will be accessible to all of TACC's computing and visualization systems, and easily expandable to hundreds of petabytes in the coming years. Additionally TACC will host innovative Web-based and cloud computing services, including science portals and gateways that enable researchers around the world to use the university's research applications. TACC's Dell and Intel based Stampede supercomputer is expected to reach a peak performance of 10 petaflops when brought online early next year. "Having large amounts of accurate data enables us to make inferences, correlations and even predictions where theoretical foundations — mathematical governing equations and models — are not yet derived," said TACC Director Jay Boisseau. "Collecting digital data is increasingly cheap and easy. We need digital infrastructure that helps people manage it and make sense of it."

Cray expands in China.  Cray announced it has formed a new wholly-owned subsidiary in China aimed at strengthening Cray's presence in China's growing High Performance Computing (HPC) marketplace. The company will use the Beijing based division to sell supercomputing systems and storage, training end-users and administrators, and provide customer support. "Cray believes the company needs to expand its supercomputing capability and expertise in the rapidly growing HPC field in China, and thus provide a strong, local presence to China's scientific community," said Andrew Wyatt, vice president, Cray Asia Pacific. "The country's HPC market is of rising importance, and establishing a new subsidiary in Beijing reconfirms our dedication to providing world-class supercomputing technologies to meet the growing needs of China's HPC users." Cray also recently announced the formation of a Big Data division within the company, focused exclusively on delivering solutions for the rapidly-growing, multi-billion dollar big data market. Investors.com recently had a very interesting feature article on Seymour Cray.

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