Posted: 2 May 2013 | 13:32
I'm currently working on a small library to support decomposition changes in parallel programs.
It turns out that a fairly simple interface can be used to describe a very large space of possible data decompositions. I'm therefore writing a library that can redistribute data between any two such decompositions.
Posted: 1 May 2013 | 11:00
I've recently returned from a very interesting week-long tour of the southwestern USA. Work-related, of course. I and a handful of European colleagues from the EUDAT project were graciously hosted by three groups all engaged in data infrastructure work on the other side of the Atlantic.
After flying into what must be one of the world's smallest and cutest airports in Santa Fe, our first stop was Los Alamos National Lab and the Web science group led by Herbert Van de Sompel.
Posted: 1 May 2013 | 09:36
Last Thursday (25th April) saw the prizegiving for the University Sustainability Awards. We've been involved with the awards for a few years now and have seen them change and adapt as we have. Last year EPCC won a Silver and this year we have achieved the top award, Gold.
Posted: 30 Apr 2013 | 14:00
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 | 07:09
Materials science - understanding how the microscopic structure of matter gives rise to macroscopic properties of materials - is one of EPSRC's key research areas, with applications in fields as diverse as energy storage, electronics, fabrics and nanotechnology. EPCC helps develop a number of important simulation codes in this area such as CP2K, GROMACS, and in this project GULP, the General Utility Lattice Program.
Posted: 26 Apr 2013 | 10:45
We have been among the first researchers to take advantage of the massive amounts of computing power available on the world's fastest "Titan" supercomputer (based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory). The full machine will boast 18 thousand GPUs, and just under half of these have been made available recently. We have shown that our highly scalable "Ludwig" soft matter physics application can efficiently take advantage of at least 8192 GPUs in parallel.
Posted: 24 Apr 2013 | 11:43
In his keynote address at the EGI Community Forum, Peter Coveney described the need to combat the fragmentation of e-Infrastructure. Unlike other talks I have seen on this subject, Peter’s focus went beyond the hardware "it’s not just the tin and iron boxes but the software and - most importantly - the people". It is the human capital, the well informed and correctly trained researchers, that we need to make the most of e-Infrastructure.
Posted: 24 Apr 2013 | 10:31
Every morning as I walk to my office I pass a closed door that intrigues me. A sign on the door reads "Fluid Dynamics, Wave, wind and current flume, Towing tank." To a software guy this induces awe. Clearly some serious science is taking place behind that door and the need for emergency contact details at the bottom of the sign serves to confirm this. Behind that door lies an experimentation testbed and to my mind experimentation testbeds are cool. Why? Two words: observation and control. Testbeds enable the collection of data that support the observation of what happened during an experiment. That's great but even better is the control part. Testbeds support controlling conditions that normally cannot be controlled. How does this tyre perform in the rain? Let's switch the rain on and see!
Posted: 23 Apr 2013 | 10:45
For one week in February, the University of Edinburgh suspends traditional lectures, tutorials, and labs and supports a programme of alternative learning activities: Innovative Learning Week.
EPCC runs the MSc in High Performance Computing (HPC), teaching students the tools and techniques they require to program modern parallel computers. During Innovative Learning Week, students from the MSc in HPC took part in three activities: developing an exhibit to explain HPC concepts to 7-12 year old children, writing a mobile app for learning numbers in Japanese, and building small computing clusters out of scrap (and not so scrap) computing hardware.
Posted: 23 Apr 2013 | 10:23
The picture of a great ape cousin hoarding food at Edinburgh Zoo is deliberately misleading! The "APES" acronym (pronounced "A-PES") actually stands for Advanced Potential Energy Surfaces, and refers to a new project that EPCC is involved in. The project in question is an NSF-EPSRC funded US-UK collaboration that aims to incorporate APES into a range of computational chemistry packages. EPCC's main contribution will be to parallelise software to take advantage of the large-scale compute resources offered by supercomputing clusters such as HECToR and its upcoming successor, ARCHER, as well as NFS-provided resources in the US. This should equip researchers with better tools to advance their understanding of the structure and function of molecules such as, hypothetically, the smell molecule isoamyl acetate (shown), which interacts with simian olfactory receptors to give bananas their irresistible allure.