Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If it isn't one thing...

On the day after Sheldon Cooper declares "Ubunutu: You are my favorite linux-based operating system" (followed immediately by the phrase 'crap' in my house), three new pieces of news on hybrid computing models cross my desk.

The first is a story in Scientific American on the work Wu Feng and his colleagues are doing at Virginia Tech. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=opencl-smooths-supercomputing Wu has long been on the leading edge of what defines power efficient computing and the placement of data next to compute.

The second was the announcement from IBM & NVIDIA that you can buy GPUs in a IBM server chassis. When IBM does it, it must be real? Or has the canceling of the next generation of Cell leave Dave Turek grasping at straws?

I'm going to close with another reference to Wu, the prolific Hokie. His group published a paper last month identifying missing genes in the microbial DNA sequences to date. The compute model was an "ephemeral supercomputer" of 12k cores across seven sites within the US. This may not look like hybrid computing, but it is about moving data independently of compute in order to manage the latencies between the compute nodes.

None of the compute Wu's team is doing, or the Tesla examples from NVidia tackle the really hard, communication dependent problems such as multiphase physics or simulation with dynamic meshing, but they do demonstrate that there are plenty of problems to be tackled with intelligent programming and massive parallel processing.

I still believe in the hybrid computing models and explicit data placement. Though my friend Mark may feel that he can show that density and efficiency of general purpose compute engines will subsume the specialty silicon market, we are certainly not yet there.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Linux on Wall Street

If there was ever a conference that appears unnecessary, it is the Linux on Wall Street (former HPC on Wall Street) conference. After all, Linux got it's mojo from the Wall Street crowd. There are visible community projects such as AMQP (open source messaging), OpenFabrics (transport) and Real-Time Linux launched and maintained by consortia of vendors and Wall Street customers.

However, this small show seems to pull it off each year. It has a nice mix of high-profile attendees plus a cross section of middle managers and vendors to keep it interesting. It is a good conference when you get to spend a little time with Bubba, Birnbaum & Bechtolsheim. Like a good house party, the conference shoehorns people into backward spaces that forces them to interact and creates a chemistry of its own.

It is a bit of old home week to see where the musical chairs of jobs and careers has landed people. You find out about competitor's strategy, new acquisitions and which vendor thinks they are making it out of the Wall Street POCs and into the data center. A couple of items I picked up of note include the optimism of the 10GbE vendors and yet-another optical switch company.

Unfortunately, the sessions themselves (and this includes mine) tend toward the vendor pitch. They are clearly sponsored and too short to have the very well informed audience play stump the panel. If I ever get to chair a panel, I am not having anything but audience questions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

channel programs

I'm in a whirlwind tour for my company presenting at various channel events. Some are internal, so you won't hear about them. However, I've also been in the public on a couple of panels about where Cloud & Collaboration are going.

My big headline is the IT shops have yet to internalize the new expectations of their customers. If they can get the same service from Amazon EC2 in less than 30 minutes, then why can't they get it from IT.

Next stop: Linux on Wall Street. New York City, Roosevelt Hotel at 1:15pm

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I've settled in at my new position. I'm back on the road at different conferences and symposia.

My focus has changed from hardware enablement of high performance to a much broader of approach of B2B marketing. I spend less time on market making, which I miss, and more time on raw creativity, which I enjoy. It is still technology and it is once again with a company attempting to change the dominant paradigm. I can't get away from those key themes.

Updates here will more regular than they have been... I have the following to blog about:
  • IDC Directions Boston: What happens to IDC when it is marketers who are spending the money, not product managers.
  • Everything Channel's LA Xchange: An event for VARs. The most interesting part was a discussion of "the next big thing" in value add.
I'm looking to attend IDC's HPC User Forum. It has been a while since I attended one and it could be fun. I just need to get it through my corporate beauracracy.

As always, these posts are mine. Though they benefit directly from my work, everything here is public information and personal observations only.