Tuesday, November 15, 2011

disruptive things spotted so far at #SC11

Given my previous petrified tweet:


It was clear I was going to have to dig a little deeper into my courage basket and take to the super computing floor. It is amazing what you can find out there! For a long time now I've been talking about exploiting the PCI bus for fun and profit, certainly with disruptive ideas such as using PCI switches. But I spotted this little gadget on the floor today:

So what is it? Simple idea uses a bridge between PCIe and S-RIO Pretty cool, low power, and sure is plenty fast enough, and there is support in the linux kernel:


So that's awesome! Next up, I spotted this gem, it is a hardware in-silico neural network system, that uses 2 watts of power and is quite simply one of the pieces of technology I could have really done with while working on my DPhil in protein structure prediction. This thing rocks!


Next up this badboy from supermicro... now this is a desktop! 4 sockets, and 1/2 terabyte of memory under your desk... no wonder orion supercomputing went pop!

Finally, my good chum Carolina @ Intel invited me to a press release today to see their “Knights Corner” MIC product demonstrated for the first time breaking barrier of 1 TFLOPS!

I was one of the lucky folks who were ushered off to a secret location to actually see it in reality! Woot! I can tell you for a fact, it's real, I met the lead architect (lovely chap), and he showed me the double precision example running on a real device! This thing, I'll say it is going to change computing yet again! Awesome!

Oh and remember remember ASCI RED?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCI_Red well it was 78 racks @ 850kW and was the first machine in 1997 to bust the 1TF sustained performance barrier. Here's a picture from my cell phone of Raj Hazra of Intel showing how big 1TF needs to be today... you can see that blurry thing in his hand - yeah it's pretty small :-)

And that was my day one at supercomputing... can't wait for tomorrow!

[any opinions here are all mine, and have absolutely nothing to do with my employer]
(c) 2011 James Cuff