Adrian Jackson's blog
Posted: 16 Aug 2017 | 15:59
I recently attended the 2017 Flash Memory Summit, a conference primarily aimed at storage technology and originally based around flash memory, although it has expanded to cover all forms of non-volatile storage technology.
Non-volatile memory is a big deal nowadays. It is memory that stores data even when it has no power (unlike the volatile memory in computers that lose data when power is switched off). Flash memory is a particular form for non-volatile memory, it's been used for a long time, and has had a massive impact on consumer technology, from the storage in your cameras and phones, to SSD hard drives routinely installed in laptop and desktop systems.
Posted: 10 Aug 2017 | 20:22
Distributed ledgers, the core technology underlying digital currencies such as BitCoin, offer some interesting functionality for constructing distributed data infrastructures.
Ledgers can be considered to be simple data stores. They are styled on accounting ledgers, books where transactions are recorded one after the other, and the overall state of the accounts can be evaluated by working through the recorded transactions to calculate how much money has flowed in and out of the accounts.
Posted: 15 Jun 2017 | 13:41
We are entering the fourth year of the Intel Parallel Computing Centre (IPCC). This collaboration on code porting and optimisation has focussed on improving the performance of scientific applications on Intel hardware, specifically its Xeon and Xeon Phi processors.
Posted: 30 May 2017 | 11:01
Posted: 24 May 2017 | 19:30
When we parallelise and optimise computational simulation codes we always have choices to make. Choices about the type of parallel model to use (distributed memory, shared memory, PGAS, single sided, etc), whether the algorithm used needs to be changed, what parallel functionality to use (loop parallelisation, blocking or non-blocking communications, collective or point-to-point messages, etc).
Posted: 11 May 2017 | 00:06
As part of the ARCHER Knights Landing (KNL) processor testbed, we have produced and collected a set of benchmark reports on the performance of various scientific applications on the system. This has involved the ARCHER CSE team, EPCC's Intel Parallel Computing Center (IPCC) team, and various users of the system all benchmarking and documenting the performance they have experienced.
Posted: 11 Apr 2017 | 17:59
Shall I compare thee...
Performance comparisons are always tricky to get exactly right. They are needed to ensure that we can demonstrate the performance improvements that optimisations, new hardware, new algorithms, etc... have had on an application or benchmark, but there is a lot of latitude in what can be compared, which makes it easy to get a performance comparison wrong and not properly demonstrate whatever it is you're trying to show.
Posted: 10 Mar 2017 | 13:54
Thread and process binding
Note, this post was updated on the 23rd March 2017 to include how to bind threads correctly on Cray systems (aprun -cc rather than taskset)
Making sure threads and processes are correctly placed, or bound, on cores or processors is essential to ensure good performance for a range of parallel applications.
This is not a new topic, and has been covered well by others before, ie http://www.glennklockwood.com/hpc-howtos/process-affinity.html. Generally this is just handled for you; if you're running an MPI program then your mpirun/mpiexec/aprun job launcher will do sensible process binding to cores.
Posted: 2 Feb 2017 | 11:37
Fluidity for tidal modelling
Figure 1: Mesh for the Sound of Islay tidal simulation. Courtesy Dr Creech.
We were recently involved in a project to optimise the CFD modelling package Fluidity for tidal modelling. This ARCHER eCSE project was primarily carried out by Dr Angus Creech from the Institute of Energy Systems in Edinburgh.
Posted: 27 Jan 2017 | 14:30
For those of you not acquainted with OpenFOAM, it's a large open source CFD package used by a wide variety of scientists and companies to investigate a whole range of scientific and engineering problems.
We support it on ARCHER and have a number of different versions available and in use on the machine. As part of our IPCC work we are interested in looking at the performance of OpenFOAM on the latest Xeon Phi processor, Knights Landing (KNL).