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Exascale Computing for Seismic Exploration

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The exascale race — toward machines capable of executing 1 quintillion (1018) operations per second — is well under way. The U.S., Japan, China and Europe have all established programs to enable exascale capabilities by around 2020. In the U.S., leading the charge toward significant HPC milestones usually falls to the Department of Energy (DOE): Both its Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration have significant interest in and benefit from ever-increasing levels of modeling, simulation and data-processing capabilities for a variety of applications. Both can leverage critical resources (facilities and people), institutional expertise and deep know-how, if not intellectual property, in this pursuit. Not all … [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...]

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...]

Record LS-DYNA “car2car” Performance Paves the Way for Future Crash/Safety Simulation

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A Cray supercomputer has set a speed record in a crash/safety simulation used by the automotive and aerospace industries. Leveraging the scalability of the Aries interconnect in the Cray® XC30™ supercomputer, engineers ran the “car2car” model, a 2.4-million element crash/safety simulation, in under 1,000 seconds. The LS-DYNA results are posted on topcrunch.org, the site that was created to track the performance of HPC systems on actual engineering applications codes. In addition to the job turnaround record (931 seconds), the result set a record for the level of parallelism (3,000 cores). As the automotive and aerospace industries continue to run larger and more complex simulations, the performance and scalability of the … [Read more...]