Simon Fraser University (SFU) has officially launched Canada’s most powerful academic supercomputer. The new 3.6-petaflop system, known as “Cedar,” is just the beginning of a big push by the Canadian government to upgrade the network of its 50 aging HPC machines used to serve the nation’s academic research community.
When a poker-playing AI program developed at Carnegie Mellon university challenged a group of machine learning-savvy engineers and investors in China, the results were the same as when the software went up against professional card players: it beat its human competition like a drum. And that points to AI’s greatest strength, as well as its greatest weakness.
A supercomputing application that can figure out if state legislative districts have been unfairly drawn, has the potential to change electoral politics in the United States. According to its inventors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the application could be used by courts to determine if partisan gerrymandering has been used to unfairly manipulate these maps.
This week Russia posted its list of the 50 most powerful supercomputing systems installed in the country. From the looks of things, not much is happening in the HPC space there. System turnover across the Top50 during the last six months was minimal and aggregate performance barely budged.
Although Google’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) has been powering the company’s vast empire of deep learning products since 2015, very little was known about the custom-built processor. This week the web giant published a description of the chip and explained why it’s an order of magnitude faster and more energy-efficient than the CPUs and GPUs it replaces.
Ministers from seven European countries have signed on to a plan to develop an exascale capability based on technology developed within the EU member states. The goal is to bring up two pre-exascale supercomputers by 2020 and two full exascale systems no later than 2023.
In November 2015 when NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang proposed that “machine learning is high performance computing’s first killer app for consumers,” there was only sketchy evidence to back up that claim. Today though, it looks like the NVIDIA chief was just a little ahead of his time.
This week in San Francisco, Intel held its first Manufacturing and Technology Day, an event designed to reassure investors and customers that Moore’s Law is alive and well and delivering the cost and performance benefits it has for the last 50 years. However, to make that claim viable, the chipmaker has recast the law to deal with the realities of a slowdown in transistor shrinkage.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has allocated £20 million for six new tier 2 supercomputing centers spread across the United Kingdom. The facilities are aimed at supporting both academic and industrial users and will house medium-sized supercomputers for scientific research and engineering.
As China, the US and Japan near the finish line in exascale race, the DOE and NSA are sounding the alarm that the United States is at grave risk of losing its dominant position in high performance computing. According to the assessment of the two agencies, “absent aggressive action by the US – the US will lose leadership and not control its own future in HPC.”