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From now on, don't mess with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau - he's a total boss in his knowledge about quantum computing - smacking down a "sassy reporter" who didn't expect Trudeau to know much about quantum computing.
Well, he's actually quite knowledgeable when it comes to quantum computing, answering the reporter's question of "I was going to ask you to explain quantum computing, but...". Trudeau was quick off the mark, replying with: "Very simple: normal computers work by...".
The crowd laughed, interrupting him briefly, but then he continued with a brief explanation of quantum computing - explaining more about the subject than the reporter thought he'd know on the subject.
This week during GTC we saw NVIDIA change its focus from primarily consumer GPU's to professional technology aimed squarely at the evolution of AI. Pascal, while a vastly different and incredibly powerful architecture, is perfect for the ever evolving HPC field. IBM, at the OpenPOWER Summit that went on this week alongside GTC, announced their newest server that includes the Tesla P100 compute accelerators combined with POWER8 processors.
The big draw is the use of NVLink, the 40GBps data link directly from the CPU to the GPU that allows for quick communication and transfer of data. It's this innovation that might help to fuel faster HPC applications and even better, more nimble AI that can absorb vast amounts of information more quickly than before. The new server architecture will require the porting over of applications, but IBM and NVIDIA are both willing to assist in that regard, to make the transition easier.
IBM's Watson division will also be participating in the design and implementation of the new server platform, adn might even end up incorporating the Tesla P100 into their own design for an upgraded Watson super computer. The initial specifcations call for cramming 4 of those compute cards into the server along with four POWER8 12-core/96-thread CPU's operating at 3-3.5GHz combined with up to 1TB of DDR4-2400 RAM in this case. The implications for AI, let alone any other type of compute heavy load are tremendous. This could very well put the PPC architecture back on the map in a big way, especially with the assistance from IBM and NVIDIA in porting over your applications. Second generation POWER8 servers are just a stepping stone to the next-generation POWER9 architecture, which is just around the corner.
Tyan announced at the OpenPOWER summit this past week that they're going to start supporting IBM's OpenPOWER initiative by offering 1U POWER8-based servers for the HPC and in-memory application markets. POWER processors might not be as prolific as Xeon, but Tyan is of the mind that variety is the spice of life, and that there's a market for these processors that could well be untapped.
They're going to offer a total of three different configurations with their new GT75-BP012 server platform. This particular platform is a single-CPU design that allows for a massive amount of memory to be installed, though at slightly slower DDR3L speeds. They're positioning these to compete in niche markets that might not need such high processing requirements but need that extra capacity of RAM to be able to keep more things persistent so they run slightly faster as a result. It'll be difficult to compete with the price-performance ratio of the typical, and even lower-cost Xeon's, but with far more DRAM here, it could be useful in some markets.
The maximum configuration will have a single 10-core/80-thread POWER8 CPU running at 2.095GHz with 1024GB of DDR3L-1600MHz RAM, four 10GbE ports, four GbE ports and 1 PCIe expansion slot, that will actually support NVIDIA's forthcoming Pascal P100 GPU. These also have support for IBM's own Centaur memorry buffer chips that allow for even more in-memory buffer capacity at DDR3 speeds. The low-end will have an 8-core/64-thread POWER8 CPU running at 2.328GHz with the same 1TB of DDR3L RAM limit. a 750W PSU will be powering the servers.
There's no information on what these servers will cost though Tyan is expecting them to be available sometime by the end of the month.
It looks like The Matrix and the Terminator movies weren't enough to make us stop trying to create an AI takeover, but now Facebook has just announced plans to open source its Open Rack-compatible hardware design for AI computing - something that has been codenamed Big Sur.
Facebook's Kevin Lee and Serkan Piantino explained that Big Sur was built to use 8 x high-performance GPUs, consuming 300W each. They were using NVIDIA's Tesla Accelerated Computing Platform, claiming that Big Sur was twice as fast as previous generations, something that were using off-the-shelf components and design.
The increased speed allows Facebook to train neural networks twice as fast, as well as exploring networks that are twice as large as before. In the end, training can be distributed between the 8 x GPUs, with the size and speed of the networks being scaled by another factor of two.
President Obama doesn't have much longer in office, but one of his last executive orders while he's in power, is that the United States build the world's fastest supercomputer by 2025.
The National Strategic Computing Initiative has been kicked off to get the US building an Exascale capable machine that would lead the world in the technological arms race. The new system will be developed by various arms of the federal government, and then be boosted up in speed to help research in various topics. One area would be helping NASA "better understand turbulence for aircraft design", reports Engadget.
As it stands, the US is behind both China and Japan when it comes to supercomputer speed. China's Tianhe-2 has been the world's fastest supercomputer for nearly two and a half years now, but with the federal government behind it, and I'm sure a boat load of taxpayers' money, the US will have Skynet online in 2025.
This massive stockpile of components will all be slotted nicely together in order to cool the NNSA's first Advanced Simulation and Computing Program's product - named the Trinity Supercomputer.
All of this gear is called 'warm-water cooling' and it's what you'd expect in order to provide an energy-saving alternative for some of the world's most advanced tech.
An explanation from the Los Alamos National Labarotory reads: "The Trinity supercomputer is the first of the NNSA's Advanced Simulation and Computing program's advanced technology systems. Once installed, Trinity will be the first platform large and fast enough to begin to accommodate finely resolved 3D calculations for full-scale, end-to-end weapons calculations. But the installation of such a powerful supercomputer is no small task." But wait, there's more! "In order to accommodate Trinity, the SCC first had to undergo a series of major mechanical and electrical infrastructure upgrades. Because energy conservation is a priority at Los Alamos, these upgrades included a shift to warm water cooling technology (which will result in a major energy savings), as well as a decrease in the use of city/well water for cooling towers.."
OCZ Storage Solutions has just announced the release of their Vertex 460A. The original Vertex series has been a stellar product with a history that spans back to the original version with the first-gen Indilinx Barefoot controller. The new version leverages Toshiba's latest A19 MLC NAND flash. The A19nm process geometry is the second generation of Toshiba 19nm MLC. The new version also features the Barefoot 3 controller and sequential speeds of 545/525 MB/s read/write (480GB model). Random speeds also top out at 95,000/90,000 random read/write IOPS, respectively, but performance varies depending upon capacity, as noted in the graphic below.
The Vertex 460A features an endurance rating of 20GB of writes for the three-year warranty period. OCZ is providing their new ShieldPlus warranty, which provides advance shipping and covers return shipping costs if there is the need for an RMA. The new Vertex also features Acronis True Image for cloning an existing installation to the SSD, and a 3.5" desktop adaptor. OCZ recently launched a new online shop, and we expect units to be available there shortly.
K, one of the world's fastest supercomputers based in Japan, is capable of 8.162 petaflops of performance, thanks to its insane 82,944 processors. The supercomputer is capable of driving 1016 billion operations per second, but even then, it is still hard pressed to compete with the brain in your head reading this article.
It took K around 40 minutes to simulate just 1 single second of human brain activity, even with all of its performance prowess. The experiment on simulated human brain activity involved 1.73 billion virtual nerve cells that were connected to 10.4 trillion virtual synapses, with every virtual synapse containing 24 bytes of memory.
NEST was used on the software side of things, which is a simulator for spiking neural network models that focuses on dynamics, size and structures of neural systems, versus exact morphology of individual neurons.
Just months ago the US government was shut down, with hundreds of thousands of jobs in the air, millions of US citizens affected, but that's nothing when it comes to the blank cheques it signs to the National Security Agency for "research".
The US spy agency is reportedly working on a quantum computer that would break through any encryption thanks to its pure, insane amount of processing power. Edward Snowden is behind the leaks - come on, you're not surprised now, are you - revealing a program that is worth some $79.7 million, dubbed "Penetrating Hard Targets".
The Washington Post is reporting the news, stating that the majority of the research is being done at the University of Maryland's Laboratory for Physical Sciences.
I don't know why it hasn't built its own yet, but The Pentagon has just dangled a carrot in front of hackers' eyes: offering up The Cyber Grand Challenge. The challenge will run for three years, with contestants needing to meet the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) requests.
DARPA would like to see a fully automated system that is capable of protecting itself from hackers, with the ability to respond to attacks within a matter of hours or seconds, versus a couple of days. The system, that I'm going to call Skynet, should be capable of updating its own cote on-the-fly and have decent reasoning abilities that are better than human experts based on vulnerability scanner signatures, intrusion detection signatures and security patches.
There are three prizes on offer by the government, the first is the grand prize of $2 million, with second and third places seeing a nice $1 million and $750,000 respectively. With all of the power, technology and secrecy, it's truly mind boggling that DARPA can't just build Skynet on its own.