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We think Cray is cray cool!

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cray (adj.): crazy, but without that time consuming extra syllable. Cray (n.): A Seattle, WA based manufacturer of awesomely powerful supercomputers for solving the world’s most challenging data-intensive problems! Hot-diggity, “cray” is in the dictionary! Thanks to this amazeballs rise of new terms due to popular culture and technology (special shout out to Jay Z and Kayne West for this one), cray is now an official term in the Oxford English dictionary and that is definitely cray cray. We at Cray have been working on a few cray technologies that we believe have had some small effect on changing our world for the better (humblebrag). Popular “word-technology” should not be an exception to the areas in which we make … [Read more...]

Unconventional ways Supercomputers are Used: Part 2

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We talk a lot about how high performance computing systems are on the forefront of science, but it's also fun to take a step back and look at some of the more unusual ways that supercomputers are impacting our lives. In a previous post, I discussed how supercomputing systems are being used in everything from ice cream physics to baseball and dirty diapers. Now we're back with part two of our series on unconventional uses of supercomputers. The Lord of the Rings Considering this movie’s high-flying, detailed special effects, I'm not surprised the director, Peter Jackson, turned to supercomputing to help create these lifelike experiences. To make the weather, buildings and vegetation accurate enough to turn J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth … [Read more...]

Why Chapel? (Part 2)

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This is the continuation of my previous blog article describing why we are pursuing the development of the Chapel parallel programming language at Cray Inc. In that article, I argued for why the HPC community should consider pursuing productive new languages like Chapel. In this article, I’ll tackle some of the skepticism that typically arises in such conversations. With so many languages trying and failing . . . is this an intractable problem? Personally, I don’t believe that there is any inherent technical reason that we, as a community, can’t create a decent and productive language for large-scale computing. I believe that our failure to do so thus far has been due less to technical challenges (though they do exist) and more to … [Read more...]

Supercomputers: The Solution to Physical Test Limitations in Automotive Manufacturing

During the past few decades the world of science has changed, moving from physical experimentation alone to an environment in which simulations are of primary importance. In the automotive industry, research and design is now so advanced that it’s following in the footsteps of science and moving away from physical testing. Supercomputing has allowed automobile manufacturers to transition to a simulation-driven world. The innovative use of new materials in vehicle design is becoming the norm for automotive manufacturers — honeycomb structures and increased aluminum use being an example. With more advanced design elements coming into play, numerous manufacturing challenges are emerging; including the need for a greater number of … [Read more...]

Using HPC Techniques to Accelerate NGS Workflows

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Next-generation sequencing (NGS) describes the modern nucleotide sequencing technologies that allow analysis of genetic material with unprecedented speed and efficiency. Its advent is shifting genome assembly from a problem of laboratory-based chemistry to one well suited to high performance computing (HPC). In simple terms, NGS involves breaking up long DNA or RNA molecules into millions of small, fragments (50 to 200 nucleotides), defined as a “reads” to be assembled into larger fragments called contigs. The process of taking genetic material, processing it on a sequencer, passing it to an HPC system for assembly, and outputting digital information in a form useful for research is contained in a “workflow,” the end-to-end flow … [Read more...]