Taking a starship to Oz and other SC12 observations
At long last, let the SC12 coverage begin. As a general rule here at Cluster Monkey we like to get our trade show coverage done before next years event in 2013. More in depth coverage will be presented in separate articles, but for now I would like to share some personal highlights from the show.
First, as always the Beowulf Bash was a great success. Despite not giving the exact location until the week before, many of those still hungry and thirsty after the Opening Gala headed over to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy themed party at Clark Planetarium. (more details here). In addition, to a darn good time and a chance to touch base with HPC friends, the party is a testament to the power of community. Twenty three vendors came together to support a party that began back at SC99 with just beer and pretzels. My only regret was that I was talking so much I forgot to take pictures. Thanks again to the lead sponsors Intersect360 and Adaptive Computing
One of the highlights for me was the Official Hitchhikers Guide to the Beowulf Bash Towel sponsored by R-HPC. The towel, pictured below, is one of the most creative pieces I have seen in a while. Rather than paint the towel with marketing dribble, R-HPC went with the flow of the party and came up with some of the best jokes of the event. Well done R-HPC. And if you need anything HPC, contact these guys. Ask about their TaaS offering.
Moving on. The big news at the show from Intel was not the release of the Larabee/Corner/Crossing/MIC device (More on that in a future article). No, it was something I thought I would never see in my lifetime. Smack dab in the middle of Intel's booth was the original bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Let me state that again for those of you who are probably a little weak kneed at this point. Intel had procured the original set from the bridge of the Star Trek series. In order to enter this geek mecca, you had to listen to a talk on the bridge and then you could take pictures and, yes, sit in the chair. Behold the picture that made my friends and family members jealous of this Star Fleet visitor.
In general, there was a lot of focus on the accelerator battle, Intel (launched the Xeon Phi/MIC) and NVidia (launched the Tesla K20X). AMD was somewhat subdued while many other companies were spouting "big data" messages to the crowds. Noticeably absent were the DOE booths. Overall attendance was down by about 18% (about 9400 attendees total this year). Thanks to the incredible sort-sighted vision of our government bureaucrats the lab booths were absent. Someone remarked, keeping the Government Labs away from the annual SC conference is like telling the US Air Force they cannot attend the Paris Air Show. Brilliant.
I had plenty of discussions (and interest) about the Limulus Project. The 200 (CPU) GFLOP Limulus was on display at the Seneca Booth. I'll have more on Limulus real soon -- including a switch-less 10GigE version and some Hadoop news!
Finally I want to share the other thing I thought I would never see in my lifetime. The concluding picture below was the first thing I saw when I entered my hotel room. I stood for moment trying to make some sense of it. Though in the past, I spent some time with at the home of the Big Red One, I was somehow reminded I was "not in Kansas anymore." Just in case I was not paying attention to the beautiful mountains of Salt Lake.