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Data is More Valuable than the Hardware it Runs On


It’s been a while since my last post earlier this year, but we’ve been very busy working on some exciting new technologies that we can finally talk about in public. As many of you know, our original product, the Urika graph analytics appliance (now renamed Urika-GD®), gave us a great opportunity to introduce a unique technology to the enterprise analytics market. Not only did Urika-GD start solving some fairly intractable problems where commodity machines faltered, but it also gave us the opportunity to better understand some of the use cases that were beginning to emerge – how our clients and users actually deployed some of the big data analytic solutions, the workflow from start to finish as well as the other systems that were … [Read more...]

Why Chapel? (Part 3)


This article wraps up the series started in my previous two blog articles (here and here) with the goal of explaining why we are pursuing the development of the Chapel parallel programming language at Cray Inc. In those articles, I advocated for the pursuit of productive new languages like Chapel. In this article, I’ll cover reasons for developing a new language rather than extending an existing one. Why create a new language? Why not extend C, C++, Fortran, … ? People who ask this question are typically referring to one or more of the following perceived benefits. By extending a language you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can build on what’s come before.  While this is true, conventional languages also tend to carry … [Read more...]

Back to Warp Speed, Scotty!


Aren’t supercomputers already supposed to be moving at “warp” speed? Well, multi-petaflops anyway? With computing challenges getting more demanding and datasets getting more massive, it is not as easy as Captain James Kirk asking Scotty for more power. Supercomputers and their associated storage systems are getting larger each year, but a performance inefficiency is emerging between the compute nodes and the disk systems where the parallel file systems are located. The overall performance of application execution on supercomputing systems is subject to the efficiency of the data movement between a tier of spinning disks and the memory where the codes are actually executing. Cray has been collaborating with some of the most … [Read more...]

Oktoberfest: Prost! to Beer and Big Data


Bavarian culture has spread its wings and has influenced the world with its beer-drinking tradition. Oktoberfest, a more than 200-year-old celebration that began in Munich, Germany, is still well under way. These days, Oktoberfest is celebrated not only in Bavaria, but also around the globe in places such as London and Dublin and many cities in the United States. As an enthusiast of both beer and data, I find myself thinking about how even beer production and marketing relate to big data. Even in the world of Oktoberfest, there is a massive amount of information to be mined, analyzed and put to use. Questions such as “What types beer are sold the most?” and “Depending on the time, day, place and weather, which areas host the … [Read more...]

Q&A: Diving Deep Into Our Solar System


Anthony Mezzacappa, director of the University of Tennessee–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, and a team of computational astrophysicists are conducting one of the largest supernova simulations to date on ORNL’s “Titan” supercomputer. Titan, which is a hybrid Cray® XK7™ supercomputer, is managed by the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility on behalf of the Department of Energy. Dr. Mezzacappa answers our questions about his team’s work on Titan. Q: Why is understanding what triggers a supernova explosion so important? A: Supernovae are ultimately responsible for why you and I are here. The class of supernova that our team studies is known as core-collapse supernovae, and this type … [Read more...]