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ISC ’12 – Flying the Flag for the UK in HPC

ISC Top500

ISC ’12 Conference: last year’s themes like big data, analytics, cloud, cooling are still very much on the agenda

Last week I attended the ISC ’12 Conference in Hamburg, Germany.  It was a well-attended show and a worthwhile trip to meet up with customers and suppliers. It was evident that last year’s themes like big data, analytics, cloud, cooling are still very much on the agenda.

What was most noticeable for me this time was the strength the UK is now showing the HPC market, both in the impressive number of British attendees and the general buzz and talk of an upward trend in supercomputing in the UK.  This view was reinforced when the Top500 was announced at the show, with the Science and Technology Facilities Council at Daresbury reaching the rank of 13 and the University of Edinburgh at the rank of 20. Other OCF customers also made the Top 500 (www.top500.org) like the University of Durham and the University of Southampton.

I met up with some interesting companies from the UK including Iceotope which has developed an interesting chip water cooling system that fully submerges the mother board in non-conductive liquid

I met up with some interesting companies from the UK who are pushing forward with innovative solutions in HPC.  Gnodal provides accelerating switch technology, specifically 10Gbps and 40Gpbs Ethernet switches; Iceotope has developed an interesting chip water cooling system that fully submerges the mother board in non-conductive liquid;  Xyratex is a storage manufacturer that provides high density lustre based storage; and Calxeda uses ultra-low power ARM processors as the foundation for next generation server designs.

I heard a lot of talk about Hadoop (Apache), an analytics, open-source framework that allows for the distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of computers using a simple programming model –very hot at the minute.

The HP stand went all out for attracting the crowds with a knife juggling show, Panasas had a gorilla walking about – ‘taming the big data beast’ was their slogan.  Unfortunately I missed the German Grand Chess master Jan Gustafsson, who had his hands full as he played two rounds of chess, conducting eight games simultaneously.

The major news announcement came from IBM, unveiling the first commercially available supercomputer at the Leibniz Supercomputer Centre that is cooled with hot water rather than air.

All in all, a good show and great presence from the UK.  Leave a comment if you have anything else to add. Full gallery of images below.

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