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Supercomputer, Cluster, Cellphone – What’s the difference?

Clusters vs. Supercomputers

Let’s admit it. Supercomputing is an interesting industry to work in, and this line of employment often generates some peculiar questions and thoughts from people trying to gain a better understanding of what it is that we actually design, develop, build and sell. I often hear the saying: “my cellphone is a supercomputer because it’s just as fast, or faster, than a supercomputer was 30 years ago. Believe it or not, you still cannot predict a tornado on a cellphone, it just won’t work. You need a supercomputer for that type of scientific prognostication.  While today’s smartphones are, well, smart, they’re not that smart. The saying does hold some deep truth for us about commoditization and technological evolution, but … [Read more...]

Chapel: Productive Parallel Programming

CHAPEL-LOGO-FINAL

Parallel computing has resulted in numerous significant advances in science and technology over the past several decades.  However, in spite of these successes, the fact remains that only a small fraction of the world’s programmers are capable of effectively using the parallel languages and programming models employed within HPC and mainstream computing.  Chapel is an emerging parallel language being developed at Cray Inc. with the goal of addressing this issue and making parallel programming far more productive and generally accessible. Chapel originated from the DARPA High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program, which challenged vendors like Cray to improve the productivity of high-end computing systems.  Engineers at … [Read more...]

CUG 2013 Preview…On the Road to Napa

CUG 2013

The annual Cray User Group (CUG) meeting is just a week away. I always look forward to this opportunity to see and hear from our customers from around the world. They gather each May to share their experiences with their Cray systems, learn from their peers, hear from Cray’s partners and give us feedback on what we can do better. The week also provides plenty of time to meet new people and catch up with old friends. This year’s event will be in Napa Valley, California and hosted by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). CUG is an independent corporation of member organizations that own Cray systems. It actually runs independently of Cray Inc., but with very close ties.  Cray employees serve as Special … [Read more...]

“Lee Friedlander: The Cray Photographs,” a Crayon’s Review

Cantor Arts

I attended the April 5th opening reception of Lee Friedlander: The Cray Photographs at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center and was pleased and moved in every respect by the exhibit, the people attending and their reactions to what they saw. For me this was a unique event, bringing together my studies as a graduate student at Stanford and my long career at Cray. Amidst the nearly 500 visitors (including my mother Louise, my sister Deb and my brother-in-law Tom) I saw Rupak Biswas from NASA-Ames attending with his wife, and Katie Antypas from NERSC attending with her parents. This was certainly a family affair. Friedlander’s 79 framed photographs are presented in a circular format in one room, each frame pressed against the … [Read more...]

Innovation through Collaboration: Lustre User Group 2013

OpenSFS_Lug

At Cray, we are proud of our supercomputing history. We are also proud of our heritage and leadership position within the Lustre® file system community, having delivered some of the world’s largest and fastest production Lustre file systems. Lustre has evolved and matured into the pre-eminent, open parallel file system for HPC and big data storage. Our open storage system strategy builds on the Linux® operating system (across numerous distributions), and combines interoperability, platform choice, and the Lustre file system. Why Lustre?  Simply put: performance, scalability, and innovation through open collaboration. The Lustre file system powers around 2/3rds of the top 100 HPC sites.  At Cray, we have a broad number of … [Read more...]