Cray XC30 supercomputer (credit: Cray Inc.)
Cray Inc. has launched the Cray XC30 supercomputer, previously code-named “Cascade,” designed to scale high performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops, with more than one million cores.
Cray did not specify whether the 100 petaflops was Rpeak or Rmax, or when a 100 petaflops installation might be planned.
China’s Guangzhou Supercomputing Center also recently announced the development of a supercomputer capable of 100 petaflops peak performance: the Tianhe-2 supercomputer, due to launch in 2015.
Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Cray XC30 combines the new Aries interconnect, Intel Xeon processors, Cray’s fully-integrated software environment, and innovative power and cooling technologies.
Die shot of the Aries interconnect chip (credit: Cray Inc.)
Several leading HPC centers have signed contracts to purchase Cray XC30 supercomputers, including:
- The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland
- The Pawsey Centre in Perth, Australia, owned by CSIRO and operated by iVEC
- The Finnish IT Center for Science Ltd. (CSC)
- The Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in Berkeley, Calif.
- The Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies (ACCMS) at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan
- The University of Stuttgart’s High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) in Germany
The Cray XC30 will utilize the Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 product family. Future versions of the Cray XC family of supercomputers will be available with the new Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors and NVIDIA Tesla GPUs based on the next-generation NVIDIA Kepler GPU computing architecture.
Early shipments of the Cray XC30 are starting now, and systems are expected to be widely available in first quarter of 2013.
“Cray is a leader in the high-end of the supercomputing industry, and the Cray XC30 system promises to continue the Company’s strong standing in the market for designing, building and installing leadership-class supercomputers, such as the ‘Titan’ system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the ‘Blue Waters’ supercomputer at the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications,” said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for HPC. “The Cray XC30 supercomputer also advances Cray’s Adaptive Supercomputing vision, which aims to boost application performance for their customers by exploiting hybrid processing.”
The Cray XC30 supercomputer is made possible in part by Cray’s participation in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) High Productivity Computing Systems program.
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
They might be caused by common medications used to treat insomnia, anxiety, itching or allergies, according to Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Research Chair at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM, Montreal Geriatric University Institute) and Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Montreal (UdeM).
Up to 90 percent of people over the age of 65 take at least one prescription medication. Eighteen percent of people in this age group complain of memory problems and are found to have mild cognitive deficits. Research suggests there may be a link between the two.
Dr. Tannenbaum recently led a team of international researchers to investigate which medications are most likely to affect amnestic (memory) or non-amnestic (attention, concentration, performance) brain functions. After analyzing the results from 162 experiments on medications with potential to bind to cholinergic, histamine, GABAergic or opioid receptors in the brain, Dr. Tannenbaum concluded that the episodic use of several medications can cause amnestic or non-amnestic deficits.
The 68 trials on benzodiazepines (which are often used to treat anxiety and insomnia) that were analyzed showed that these drugs consistently lead to impairments in memory and concentration, with a clear dose-response relationship. The 12 tests on antihistamines and the 15 tests on tricyclic antidepressants showed deficits in attention and information processing. Dr. Tannenbaum’s findings support the recommendation issued in the Revised Beers Criteria published last spring 2012 by the American Geriatrics Society that all sleeping pills, first-generation antihistamines, and tricyclic antidepressants should be avoided at all costs in seniors. (See list below.)
However, “despite the known risks, it may be better for some patients to continue their medication instead of having to live with intolerable symptoms,” says Dr. Tannenbaum. “Each individual has a right to make an informed choice based on preference and a thorough understanding of the effects the medications may have on their memory and function.”
MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of adults without underlying central nervous system disorders who underwent detailed neuropsychological testing prior to and after oral administration of drugs affecting cholinergic, histaminergic, GABAergic or opioid receptor pathways. Seventy-eight studies were identified, reporting 162 trials testing medication from the four targeted drug classes. Two investigators independently appraised study quality and extracted relevant data on the occurrence of amnestic, non-amnestic or combined cognitive deficits induced by each drug class. Only trials using validated neuropsychological tests were included. Quality of the evidence for each drug class was assessed based on consistency of results across trials and the presence of a dose-response gradient. This research was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Sydney, the University of Calgary and the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Drugs to avoid
At KurzweilAI’s request, Dr. Tannenbaum provided the following list of the most dangerous drugs shown to affect memory (generic names):
Benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics:
Computerworld – Intel researchers are working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets, but it could be five to 10 years before it hits the market.
“If we’re going to have this technology in five to 10 years, we could finally do things that take way too much processing power today,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy. “This could really open up our concept of what is a computer… The phone would be smart enough to not just be a computer but it could be my computer.”
Enric Herrero, a research scientist at Intel Labs in Barcelona, said the lab is working on finding new ways to use and manage many cores in mobile devices.
Today, some small mobile devices use multi-core chips. However, those multi-cores might be dual- or quad-core CPUs working with a few GPUs. Having a 48-core chip in a small mobile device would open up a whole new world of possibilities.
- Intel researchers work on new way to display, share images
- Intel working on 48-core chip for smartphones, tablets
- Intel readies for programmable smart cars
- Autonomous cars will arrive within 10 years, Intel CTO says
- NASA’s Curiosity makes first drive at Bradbury Landing
- ‘Talking’ smart cars begin year-long test aimed at accident reduction
- Harvard stores 70 billion books using DNA
- IBM claims spintronics memory breakthrough
- Watch out Google: Apple gets patent for wearable device
- Google Glass launches new age of personal computing
At this point, researchers are working to see how to best use so many cores for one device.
“Typically a processor with one core would do jobs one after another,” Herrero told Computerworld. “With multiple cores, they can divide the work among them.”
He explained that with many cores, someone could, for instance, be encrypting an email while also working on other power-intensive apps at the same time. It could be done today, but the operations might drag because they’d have to share resources.
Tanausu Ramirez, another Intel research scientist working on the 48-core chip, said that if someone was, for example, watching a high-definition video, a 48-core chip would be able to use different cores to decode different video frames at the same time, giving the user a more seamless video experience.
Ramirez also said that instead of one core working at near top capacity and using a lot of energy, many cores could run in parallel on different projects and use less energy.
“The chip also can take the energy and split it up and distribute it between different applications,” he added.
Justin Rattner, Intel’s CTO, told Computerworld that a 48-core chip for small mobile devices could hit the market “much sooner” than the researchers’ 10-year prediction.
“I think the desire to move to more natural interfaces to make the interaction much more human-like is really going to drive the computational requirements,” he said. “Having large numbers of cores to generate very high performance levels is the most energy efficient way to deliver those performance levels.”
Rattner said functions such as speech recognition and augmented reality will push the need for more computational power.
“If it’s doing speech recognition or computer vision… that’s very computational intensive,” he added. “It’s just not practical to just take sound and pictures and send it up to the cloud and expect that some server is going to perform those tasks. So a lot of that will be pushed out to the client devices.”
Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, said being able to have different device functions, as well as apps all running on their own cores would be a great advance.Intel researchers at the company’s lab in Barcelona are using a prototype of a single chip cloud computer to figure out how best to use a many-core chip in smartphones and tablets. (Photo: Sharon Gaudin / Computerworld)window.cmcb[“idge-21380335635_1351876531”]();
World’s largest offshore wind farm generates first power
DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar today (29/10/12) announced that the first power had been produced at the London Array Offshore Wind Farm.
The 630MW scheme, located in the Thames Estuary, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The development has been under construction since March 2011 and 151 of the 175 turbines have now been installed, with construction on scheudle to be finished by the end of the year.
The 175 turbines will produce enough power to supply over 470,000 UK homes with electricity.
Laura Sandys, MP Thanet South, said: “Locally we are extremely pleased that London Array is now producing energy for homes across the South East. We are very proud that London Array is based in Thanet and that we are host to the largest offshore wind farm in the world. To have a world class wind farm maintained from Ramsgate is great for the local community and local business. We very much hope that the company will be able to realise its plans to develop Phase Two adding an additional 240MW”
Benj Sykes, Wind UK Country Manager at DONG Energy, said: “With its 630 MW the London Array project will be the first of the next generation of larger offshore wind farms and we are pleased to have reached first power. Being able to efficiently develop large offshore wind farms and harvest the scale advantages in both construction and operation is an important element in our continuous efforts to bring down costs of energy of offshore wind.”
Dr. Tony Cocker, CEO of E.ON UK, said: “This is not only a very important milestone for the London Array development but also a major landmark for the global renewables sector. We firmly believe that electricity from renewable sources has a vital part to play in helping us to deliver energy in a way that is sustainable, affordable and secure and this is why we are aiming to reduce the costs of offshore wind by 40% by 2015.”
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, said: “The London Array offshore wind project is a landmark achievement for Masdar, its partners and the United Kingdom. We are proud to be making a significant contribution to the UK’s renewable energy portfolio and targets. The London Array development is an example of the true potential and commercial viability of renewable energy. It is also a model of the collaboration and action required to implement large-scale clean energy projects in an effort to sustainable meet our growing energy demands.”
London Array is being built around 20km off the coasts of Kent and Essex. The wind farm will be installed on a 245km2 site and will be built in two phases. Phase One will cover 90km2 and include 175 turbines with a combined capacity of 630MW. The consortium plans to complete the first phase by the end of 2012. If approved, the second phase will add enough capacity to bring the total to 870MW.
The project consortium partners have the following shareholdings: DONG Energy owns 50%, E.ON has 30% and Masdar has a 20% stake.