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.
Posted: 23 Apr 2013 | 09:50
This year’s facilities sharing event, Get Your Kit Out Too, takes place on June 11 and with the usual funding for equipment severely squeezed, why not come and see what's on your doorstep, and how it can work for you? There will be talks, exhibitions and networking to help you discover the kit and facilities available at the College of Science and Engineering and find out how you can access them. Building on last year's successful and informative day, this year's event will also feature facilities from outwith the College, including those at Heriot-Watt and St Andrews universities.
Posted: 19 Apr 2013 | 14:08
Posted: 19 Apr 2013 | 10:57
Programmability of GPUs (or accelerators in general) has improved since the days of the OpenGL shaders. First CUDA, and OpenCL later, have evolved to offer a reasonable way of programming efficient algorithms onto GPUs. However, despite this improvement, there is still a lot of effort involved in the development of code for accelerators. This is inevitable sometimes: if you have a particular algorithm and you want to have the maximum performance possible for a particular accelerator architecture, and you have the time to do it, you can immerse yourself in the marvellous world of CUDA/OpenCL low-level optimisation and stop reading. If time is critical for you, as it is for me, then you will love the latest advance in accelerator programmability: OpenACC.
Posted: 18 Apr 2013 | 16:11
Based on previous experience of supervising MSc students and inspired by the Software Carpentry boot camp sessions I attended as a helper in Edinburgh and Newcastle, I thought I would insist that the MSc students that I am supervising this year should use a third party private source code repository for their code, meeting minutes, project report and project presentation and anything else that might be of relevance.