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The news in this category has been selected by us because we thought it would be interestingto hard core cluster geeks. Of course, you don't have to be a cluster geek to read the news stories.

From the "What We Have Been Saying Dept"

Fresh from Julia Computing is a short note about HPC maven Jack Dongarra had to say about Julia.

2021 Turing Award Winner Jack Dongarra Says Julia Is ‘Much Better’ Than Other Languages and Should Perhaps Take Over: The winner of the 2021 Turing Award, often referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize of Computing’, is Jack Dongarra. Dongarra says Julia is ‘much better’ than other languages and should perhaps take over. According to ZDNet:

“While hardware speeds up matrix multiplication, [Jack] Dongarra is, again, mindful of the needs of the scientists and the software writer. ‘I grew up writing FORTRAN, and today we have much better mechanisms’ such as the Julia programming language and Jupyter Notebooks. What's needed now, he said, are more ways to ‘express those computations in an easy way,’ meaning linear algebra computations such as matrix multiplications. Specifically, more tools are needed to abstract the details. ‘Making the scientist more productive is the right way to go,’ he said. Asked what software programming paradigm should perhaps take over, Dongarra suggested the Julia language is one good candidate …”

Of course some forward looking sites, (cough, cough) have been highlighting Julia for ten years,

From the self reference department

The Beowulf Foundation was announced by Douglas Eadline and Lara Kisielewska at the SC 2021 Beowulf Bash in St Louis. The idea for a “Foundation” emerged from the continued discussion amongst the Beowulf community about the supporting the “Beowulf Ethos,” that began with the Beowulf Project at NASA using commodity hardware and open source software to build high-performance systems at low cost. Initially considered an anomaly, the “wrong ideas” demonstrated by the Beowulf Project changed the face of modern supercomputing.

The goal of the Beowulf Foundation is not to relive the past, but to support the “wrong” ideas of the future that may lead to further breakthroughs in high performance computing. As stated by Eadline:

From the "So That is What My Data Look Like" Department

A new open source, portable, and scalable 3D visualization standard is in the works. Announced by Khronos Group ANARI (Analytic Rendering Interface) 1.0 Provisional Specification for scientific visualization and scalable 3D Data visualization. ANARI will enable users to quickly and easily build a scene description and create 3D images. Most importantly, ANARI doesn’t specify the rendering details; the rendering gets left to the backend engine which provides a simplified way to develop a visualization application with cross-vendor portability including ray tracing. From the announcement:

"The scientific visualization ecosystem includes key visualization application vendors such as VMD, VTK/ParaView, and VisIt that have actively participated in ANARI’s design. There are also early ANARI implementations in development by AMD, Intel and NVIDIA that will provide access to their Radeon ProRender, OSPRay, and VisRTX rendering engines respectively".

The specification is provisional and a full version 1 should be released soon (there is an open SDK available). There is also a good (and short) Overview Video that explains the benefits of ANARI.

As part of this years ISC-19 a new Top500 list has been posted. There was very little churn at the top of the list, however the entire list is now Peta-flop scale systems. In addition, the number 136 system was an AWS cloud based cluster. There has been some buzz as to whether a cloud based system violates the Top500 rule of not allowing "stunt" clusters to be ranked on the list. The intention is that the cluster should be permanent and used for production work after the list publication.

It was also another good year for HPC according to our friends at Intersect360:

This was a solid year for the HPC market, although there was some variability between categories. The total HPC market revenue was $36.1 billion in 2018, growing 3.2% over 2017. Public cloud consumption for HPC had a second strong year, with 16.0% growth. Spending on HPC servers grew 9.1%, driven in large part by end users shifting to more computationally rich environments, fueled greatly by new requirements in machine learning. HPC services declined, due to a number of market trends including: competition with the cloud and bundling of services with server sales.

More information can be found here. Full reports can be purchased by contacting sales(you know what foes here)

When is water cooling not wet?

There is new white paper out entitled Energy Performance Evaluation of Aquila’s Aquarius Fixed Cold Plate Cooling System at NREL’s High Performance Computing Center. Before you assume this is YAWCC (Yet Another Water Cooled Cluster) you may want to consider that no water or liquids ever "touch" any processors. How then does it work? you may ask. Basically Aquila has a clever design that separates the water/processor interface with a highly efficient transfer medium. This design keeps the water contained in cooling circuit while the servers are free to be "dry servers" and require no internal plumbing. Bottom line: highly efficient water cooling with no plumbing or leaks. The Executive Summary (reprinted with permission) provides more details.


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