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Big or Big Fast Data?

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You say HPC & Hadoop®, I say Big Fast Data While the “Big” part of the Big Data nomenclature is a characteristic that garnered so many headlines, organizations using Big Data technologies like Hadoop, in meaningful ways are coming to discover that size alone isn’t enough. Though I’ll use the term Hadoop in this discussion, I’m really referring to anything in the MapReduce ecosystem, as well as a host of alternative “Big Data” technologies. There are a few reasons why organizations need to think about being fast, before they get big. Reason 1: Getting big is the easy part Go big, or stay relational… or even flat, for that matter. Technologies like Hadoop aren’t interesting for their ease of use, as they’re … [Read more...]

Chapel Parallel Iterators: Giving Programmers Productivity with Control

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As described in my previous blog article, Chapel is an emerging parallel programming language that we’re developing at Cray to dramatically simplify parallel programming, from your multicore laptop to the world’s most powerful Cray systems.  Chapel is being developed in an open-source manner and is designed and implemented with portability as a key concern. While the previous article gave a high-level overview of Chapel's concepts, implementation, and next steps, in this article I'll provide a deeper dive into one specific Chapel feature area—its support for user-defined parallel iterators.  This feature is designed to give programmers full control over the parallelism and scheduling used to implement parallel loops, yet in a … [Read more...]

The Software Imperative in High Performance Computing

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Software?  Hardware and networking seem to get all the headline attention when it comes to high performance computing.  Systems get described based on the number of cabinets in a system, compute blades in a cabinet, processors on a blade, cores in a processor, clock frequency, nanometer silicon fabrication technology, and more. The supercomputing industry is infatuated with hardware spec speeds and feeds.  While hardware features are what often generates the most buzz, software is equally important. Whether your domain is earth sciences, military/defense, energy, life sciences, manufacturing or other, today’s supercomputing requirements are increasingly more demanding. Differentiated software is helping close those technology gaps … [Read more...]

Chapel: Productive Parallel Programming

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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...]