Advanced HPC training from hpctraining.com

Silicon Graphics News, supercomputing
Looking for IRIX or Solaris expertise? Visit my UNIX Consultancy website.

SGI have announced the launch of hpctraining.com, which they bill as the “industry’s first one-stop-shop website for advanced HPC training”. With the range of courses and training SGI are offering, they could well be on to something.

Hpctraining.com provides coursework in the following areas:

  • System Administration
  • Network Administration
  • Cluster Administration
  • Storage Administration
  • Visualization
  • Applications/Software Development

One of the key things from my point of view is that the courses aren’t just on-site ones – there are also an increasing number of e-learning courses. For people wanting to break into HPC there are two main barriers – not being able to play with HPC-class kit, and not having the time to learn up about it. Computer based courses and simulators are the way to go for this.

hpctraining.com isn’t an SGI only effort, though. The partner list includes:

  • Adaptive Computing
  • Atempo
  • CAPS
  • Intel
  • LSI
  • Novell
  • Octality
  • Oracle University
  • Panasas
  • Platform Computing
  • Red Hat
  • SGI
  • Spectralogic

There’s a lot on offer here and I think it’s a great initiative for existing or budding HPC people. I’m also pleased to see SGI are still offering IRIX courses.

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New Top500 list out

supercomputing
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Today is the start of ISC09, and as usual, a new Top500 list kicks off the action. IBM’s Roadrunner hangs on to the top slot, with Cray’s XT5 Jaguar still there in second place. SGI‘s Pleiades system at NASA Ames is pushed down to fourth place, as the new Jugene Bluegene/P system enters at number 3.

The full list, with more details on each of the systems, can be found at http://top500.org/lists/2009/06

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Intel’s Nehalem opens up some options for Silicon Graphics

Silicon Graphics News, supercomputing
Looking for IRIX or Solaris expertise? Visit my UNIX Consultancy website.

Intel have announced their “Nehalem” processors will be coming to market in Q1 2009, with 2, 4 or 8 cores. Nothing to spectacular there (see Sun’s OpenSPARC CPU to see how to really scale with cores) but moving away from arguments about how multi-cores are better, Nehalem uses Intel’s QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) and that’s of great interest to Silicon Graphics customers.

QPI will be used by both Nehalem Xeon processors and the upcoming Tukwila Itaniums. This means that SGI’s biggest class of box – the Altix 4700 – could in theory be perfectly happy with either newer Itaniums, or make the move to cheaper Nehalem Xeons.

The next generation of Altix ICE blades will definitely be sporting the new Xeon processors (along with double data rate (DDR) Infiniband), but it’s the scalability of the bigger Altix NUMA boxes that are of interest to many customers. Given the architecture can scale to 128TB of shared memory, and with installations running up to 4096+ cores, being able to shove 8-way CPUs per socket would be a massive shot in the arm to the system – along with the increases in memory density and cooler running that will come with the new processors.

Being able to shove the cheaper Xeons into the high end offerings also means Silicon Graphics can lower production costs and increase margin, which given the recent quarterly earnings reports can only be a good thing.

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