Blog

Better programming languages for HPC

Author: Stephen Booth
Posted: 5 May 2016 | 16:43

Recently I seem to have had many conversations about programming languages for HPC. In some ways this is not a new subject - I have been having similar conversations for the last 20 years. However as HPC hardware evolves, machines become more complex and the issues that need to be addressed by programmers also become more complex. So it is not surprising that we are wondering if there is more the compiler could be doing to help us.

Mozilla Science Lab Global Sprint 2016

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 5 May 2016 | 15:51

We will be one of the participating sites at this year's Mozilla Science Lab Global Sprint here in Edinburgh.

The event will take place from 2nd-3rd of June, and will bring together researchers, developers, librarians and the general public from all over the world to hack on open science and open data projects.

Getting Wee Archie online: configuring a cluster for network access

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 29 Apr 2016 | 14:42

8x8 LED Matrix Connected to Raspberry Pi

At the tail end of last year, the EPCC Outreach team launched Wee Archie, a Raspberry Pi cluster designed to demonstrate parallel concepts and the type of work that is carried out on supercomputers such as ARCHER. Since the launch, Wee Archie has travelled around the UK including to Oxford, Birmingham and Dundee.

Intel compiler on ARCHER

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 26 Apr 2016 | 13:07

Bug

I had a recent query from some users with a problem with the default version of the Intel Fortran compiler on ARCHER (v15.0.2.164).  It was a nice query to get because the users had done all the work already; they'd identified the problem, found a test code that demonstrated it, and told me what the solution would be for them.

Fortunately, the solution was easy, this bug has been fixed in a newer version of the compiler (16.0.2.181), which is installed and available on ARCHER, but just isn't the default (we tend to keep the default version slightly behind the latest release but as new as possible), so they simply have to swap the compiler modules then their code can compile and run correctly.

How using HPC can help businesses compete in today’s world

Author: Mark Parsons
Posted: 22 Apr 2016 | 14:22

Through funded experiments, Fortissimo helps SMEs take advantage of business benefits enabled through HPC technologies. Visit our stand in Hannover Messe to see the world’s first production ‘megacar’ designed and built by the Swedish SME, Koenigsegg.

HPC hardware in 2016 and beyond

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 19 Apr 2016 | 23:14

Anyone taking more than a passing interest in HPC hardware recently will have noticed that there are a number of reasonably significant trends coming to fruition in 2016. Of particular interest to me are on-package memory, integrated functionality, and new processor competitors.  Intel Xeon Phi (KNL) Die

On-package memory, memory that is directly attached to the processor, has been promised for a number of years now. The first product of this type I can remember was Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube around 2010/2011, but it's taken a few years for the hardware to become mature enough (or technically feasible and cheap enough) to make it to mass market chips. We now have it in the form of MCDRAM for Intel's upcoming Xeon Phi processor (Knights Landing), and as HBM2 on Nvidia's recently announced P100 GPU.

Code for failure

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 14 Apr 2016 | 21:02

Writing programs assuming that they will be incorrect

I was thinking about development methodologies and software design principles recently and have decided that one of the things I've learned is that it is essential to write programs with the assumption they are going to fail.

I don't think that any of us like to think that the programs we write or maintain will go wrong, or have mistakes/problems in them. However, as I've discussed previously, it is very hard to develop code without making mistakes: coding mistakes, algorithmic errors, mistaken assumptions, etc...

Get into SHAPE! Removing barriers to HPC adoption for SMEs

Author: Paul Graham
Posted: 13 Apr 2016 | 14:47

SHAPE (SME HPC Adoption Programme in Europe) is a pan-European initiative supported by PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe). The Programme aims to raise awareness and provide European SMEs with the expertise necessary to take advantage of the innovation possibilities created by high-performance computing (HPC), thus increasing their competitiveness. SHAPE allows SMEs to benefit from the expertise and knowledge developed within the top-class PRACE Research Infrastructure.

Managing Makefiles in git

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 7 Apr 2016 | 16:36

I have become a bit of a fan of the distributed revision control provided by git. In my day-to-day work at EPCC, I find myself developing and running code across multiple machines. Trying to keep a code base coherent across all these systems would be a bit of a nightmare were it not for git or any other source control revision system. Arguably, SVN would work as well but I somewhat lost my faith in SVN after trying to commit files over a slow and unstable connection while travelling on a train.

Junkyard Clusters

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 5 Apr 2016 | 12:30

It was not without a certain element of trepidation that I volunteered to help out at our offering at this year's Edinburgh International Science Festival: Junkyard Clusters.

The activity basically involved taking a stripped down Dell desktop system and, in a workshop format, with a host of mostly young participants, walking them through putting the machine back together, networking the systems up and from the now working systems getting them to collaboratively build a fractal image.

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