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John Zannos to Chair OpenPOWER Foundation

Today the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the election of John Zannos from Canonical as Chair and Calista Redmond from IBM as President of the OpenPOWER Foundation Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2016. Zannos and Redmond bring deep knowledge of the open technology development community and intimate familiarity with the Foundation’s core mission, with both playing key roles within the Foundation since 2014. The new leadership will continue to guide the proliferation of OpenPOWER-based technology solutions built on IBM’s POWER architecture in today’s datacenters.

Long Live the King – The Complicated Business of Upgrading Legacy HPC Systems

“Upgrading legacy HPC systems relies as much on the requirements of the user base as it does on the budget of the institution buying the system. There is a gamut of technology and deployment methods to choose from, and the picture is further complicated by infrastructure such as cooling equipment, storage, networking – all of which must fit into the available space. However, in most cases it is the requirements of the codes and applications being run on the system that ultimately define choice of architecture when upgrading a legacy system. In the most extreme cases, these requirements can restrict the available technology, effectively locking a HPC center into a single technology, or restricting the application of new architectures because of the added complexity associated with code modernization, or porting existing codes to new technology platforms.”

Video: Accelerating Cognitive Workloads with Machine Learning

In this video, Ruchir Puri, an IBM Fellow at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center talks about building large-scale big data systems and delivering real-time solutions such as using machine learning to predict drug reactions. “There is a need for systems that provide greater speed to insight — for data and analytics workloads to help businesses and organization make sense of the data, to outthink competitors as we usher in a new era of Cognitive Computing.”

In Search Of: A Quantum Leap in Processors

The fastest supercomputers are built with the fastest microprocessor chips, which in turn are built upon the fastest switching technology. But, even the best semiconductors are reaching their limits as more is demanded of them. In the closing months of this year, came news of several developments that could break through silicon’s performance barrier and herald an age of smaller, faster, lower-power chips. It is possible that they could be commercially viable in the next few years.

OCF Deploys Fujitsu HPC Cluster at University of East Anglia

OCF in the U.K. recently deployed a new Fujitsu HPC cluster at the University of East Anglia. As the University’s second new HPC system in 4-years, the cluster can be easily scaled and expanded in the coming months through a framework agreement to match rapidly increasing demand for compute power.

HPC People on the Move – New Year’s Edition

Dr. Lewey Anton reports on who’s moving on up in High Peformance Computing. Familiar names in this edition include: Sharan Kalwani, John Lee, Jay Muelhoefer, Brian Sparks, and Ed Turkel. And be sure to let us know of HPC folks in new positions!

Video: IBM Panel Discussion on Machine Learning

In this video, Dr. Michael Karasick from IBM moderates a panel discussion on Machine Learning. “The success of cognitive computing will not be measured by Turing tests or a computer’s ability to mimic humans. It will be measured in more practical ways, like return on investment, new market opportunities, diseases cured and lives saved.”

China’s HPC Vendors Look to US and European Markets

Who are the world’s most important vendors of supercomputers, at least as measured by the number of systems they have in the Top500? HP is the leader with a 31 per cent share; Cray is number two with just under 14 per cent. So far, so unsurprising. But what has been little remarked upon is that in third place – with 49 systems, or 9.8 per cent of the Top500 list – is the Chinese vendor, Sugon. And both Sugon and Inspur, the other main Chinese vendor, have their sights set on expanding still further, with trade missions to Europe and setting up partnerships and subsidiaries in both Europe and the USA.

Is HPC Heading Towards Openness, Chaos, or a Split?

“To be successful in high-performance computing (HPC) today, it is no longer enough to sell good hardware: vendors need to develop an ‘ecosystem’ in which other hardware companies use their products and components; in which system administrators are familiar with their processors and architectures; and in which developers are trained and eager to write code both for the efficient use of the system and for end-user applications. No one company, not even Intel or IBM, can achieve all of this by itself anymore.”

Is the Future CPU+GPU or CPU+FPGA?

“At SC15, IBM, in turn, announced new offerings centered “on the tight integration of IBM’s Power processors with accelerators.” But it was an announcement about IBM’s interest in FPGAs that attracted attention. It has concluded a multi-year strategic collaboration with Xilinx to develop FPGA-enabled workload acceleration on Power-based systems. Through a private commercial agreement as well as by collaboration through the Open Power Foundation, the two companies are teaming up to develop open acceleration infrastructures, software, and middleware.