As we build-up to SC18, Verne Global is delighted to welcome Brendan McGinty, Director of Industry for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as a Guest Blogger. In his first blog Brendan looks at the industry trends around supercomputing and industrial HPC, and how these are advancing innovation in key markets.
It’s been almost a couple of months since my last blog and my marketing team are getting unpeaceful! Luckily there is nothing like the energy and bustle of an industry trade show to get you back into the groove.
Demand for high performance computing (HPC) is growing fast - and you might expect it to become kind of generic. But leading research sites like CERN still make extreme demands.
The impact of AI on the lives of consumers and the operation of businesses is slowly growing. Whether it’s the increasing visibility of autonomous vehicles or the small conveniences of a voice assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa, we’re beginning to get a sense of what AI can do. However, we’re still at the beginning. The truly significant changes are yet to come.
Being a daytime Londoner one of my favourite pastimes is to take an occasional ride in a proper London black cab and have a natter along the way. That is often a pretty cathartic experience - probably more so for the driver than the passenger, but I find it entertaining being the listening post, and London cab drivers are a good measure of the mood of the city. Recently I've had some great conversations about Ai and it's impact on society.
Data center operators sometimes find it hard to get a chance to pitch to new business. So much so that they are considering extreme measures. A wholesale colocation operator admitted to a colleague at DCD how hard it is to approach hyperscale customers. There’s a limited number of them, and the decision-makers within those companies can be difficult to access. Our contact then confided that his company had seriously considered using private detectives to track down the actual people involved in buying colocation...
Speaking at a conference in November last year, Bernd Mohr, general chair of the Juelich Supercomputing Center, described HPC as “a new gold rush” . He said: “We are the modern pioneers, pushing the bounds of science for the betterment of society.” That’s a pretty grandiose claim but much of the work being done in HPC does have groundbreaking potential. It’s use in the discovery of new medicines, for example, has allowed pharmaceutical firms to massively accelerate their research.
Building accurate road maps is a central part of the effort to build and deploy more autonomous vehicles in the real world. The term “map” may be a bit of a misnomer, though, because these maps aren’t anything like the flat 2D images available online, they’re complete three-dimensional recreations of roadside environments that are updated on a continuous basis to provide a high degree of accuracy — often down to the centimeter scale. These 3D digital maps are a critical part of an autonomous vehicle’s ability to perceive the world, and have key applications in other technologies, which has made the effort to develop the definitive map a highly competitive endeavour.
The noise around 5G is growing. The new mobile data standard is not only faster than 4G but also capable of handling many more devices, which promises a huge boom for the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities and all kinds of connectivity. However, there is still plenty of work to be done.
G-Cloud 10 launched at the beginning of July, once again giving suppliers the chance to reach local authorities, government bodies and research institutes with their services. The G-Cloud initiative was announced in 2011 and launched in 2012, as part of a plan to open up government and public sector IT to small and medium enterprise (SME) suppliers, and move local and national government in the UK to a ‘cloud first’ approach and cut costs for IT procurement.
The convergence of two existing disciplines can be an explosively creative force. A great example within the world of tech is the convergence of HPC merging with big data and machine learning. Though in many ways this convergence is still in its early stages, the merging of these technologies is already starting to deliver concrete, real world benefits in the fraud detection field, helping save financial firms hundreds of millions of dollars.
As the Director of Research at Verne Global I spend a lot of my time working with our colleagues and partners within the UK’s publicly funded universities and research and science community. I’m privileged to get to see some of the truly innovative and inspiring research that is taking place, using high performance computing (HPC) and further encouraged with how Verne Global is helping them do this. This is why I was delighted to see Verne Global’s participation in the G-Cloud 10 (G10) framework confirmed last week and indeed strengthened for 2018/19 – enabling more public sector bodies to enjoy the benefits of our on-demand true hpcDIRECT platform.S
At the end of March, Donald Trump signed into law a $1.3 trillion spending bill that covered a vast range of policy areas. The 2,232-page bill ensured that the US Government would not shut down – at least until September – but it also provided an excellent opportunity for legislators to add other measures to the ‘omnibus’ bill, which, according to Senator Rand Paul, was passed without anyone having read the whole thing.