July 03, 2012
A pair of higher learning institutions in the UK are combining HPC resources, offering compute capacity to researchers and private entities. Last week, Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge unveiled CORE, which provides HPC-as-a-Service to UK businesses.
This collaboration was born from an expansion of the UK government's business, innovation and skills e-Infrastructure program. While the CORE project serves larger enterprises, it is also targeting the so-called "missing middle," the technologically-underserved community of small-to-medium-sized business, with its HPC offerings. Dr. Paul Calleja, CORE director at the University of Cambridge, discussed the program's business-friendly approach in an official statement (PDF):
CORE demonstrates proven UK leadership in HPC and big data design, implementation and service provision for both SMB and enterprise-scale customers across a range of disciplines including engineering, life sciences, materials modelling and digital media. Simply put, CORE lowers the barriers of uptake for users and organisations new to HPC, removing the necessity for specialist HPC staff and costly in-house IT infrastructure.
In other words, the service provides the advantages of high performance computing while avoiding large operational and capital expenses.
The infrastructure's 22,000 Intel cores and an NVIDIA GPU cluster deliver 300 teraflops of sustained double-precision performance. DARWIN, the 9,600-core Dell cluster at Cambridge University, is contributing much of that compute power. Ranking 93rd on June's TOP500 list, the system is capable of 183.38 teraflops. The remaining flops will likely come from Imperial College's HPC resource pool. CORE also houses over 3 petabytes of storage and the UK's largest shared memory space.
The service has already seen use from a number of private organizations. Caterham F1 Team, Rolls Royce and Audio Analytic are all tapping the service on a pay-per-use, on-demand basis. In the case of Audio Analytic, the company develops sound-recognition software aimed at assisting security outfits. Their technology can determine various sounds like glass breaking, gunshots, and aggressive behavior. The software is then delivered to CCTV, intercom and video recording manufacturers for security system integration.
Chris Mitchell, CEO and founder of Audio Analytic, said that CORE's scale and support enabled his company to consider new workloads, while reducing time to market.
It's clear that the UK government is focused on bolstering industry resources to help create competitive advantage. If the project works, it may deliver a much needed economic boost to a region troubled with financial woes.
Researchers from the Suddhananda Engineering and Research Centre in Bhubaneswar, India developed a job scheduling system, which they call Service Level Agreement (SLA) scheduling, that is meant to achieve acceptable methods of resource provisioning similar to that of potential in-house systems. They combined that with an on-demand resource provisioner to ensure utilization optimization of virtual machines.
Experimental scientific HPC applications are continually being moved to the cloud, as covered here in several capacities over the last couple of weeks. Included in that rundown, Co-founder and CEO of CloudSigma Robert Jenkins penned an article for HPC in the Cloud where he discussed the emergence of cloud technologies to supplement research capabilities of big scientific initiatives like CERN and ESA (the European Space Agency)...
When considering moving excess or experimental HPC applications to a cloud environment, there will always be obstacles. Were that not the case, the cost effectiveness of cloud-based HPC would rule the high performance landscape. Jonathan Stewart Ward and Adam Barker of the University of St. Andrews produced an intriguing report on the state of cloud computing, paying a significant amount of attention to the problems facing cloud computing.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/02/2012 | AMD | Developers today are just beginning to explore the potential of heterogeneous computing, but the potential for this new paradigm is huge. This brief article reviews how the technology might impact a range of application development areas, including client experiences and cloud-based data management. As platforms like OpenCL continue to evolve, the benefits of heterogeneous computing will become even more accessible. Use this quick article to jump-start your own thinking on heterogeneous computing.