Till we meet again ... in Tampa! (not Orlando... Do'h!)
Well, this is the day we had to leave. We saw many things, met many people, had many good conversations. Oddly enough we did not have time to attend talks. I sat in on one BOF. Here is what I observed. IBM is pushing Blue Gene everywhere. In the sessions I did see or hear about from others, it appears that IBM operatives/employees were trying to make a case, even when told that infinite speed wasn’t the issue.
We had wanted to see several of the sessions including the ClawHmmer, and various others. I spent most of my time talking with various vendors and others on the show floor. ClawHmmer is interesting as it is a GPU version of HMMer, and on good GPU hardware, you can get quite a performance boost on HMMer. The only problem we see is that most servers don’t have good hardware accelerated GPUs.
SC'05 full day 1 (Tuesday)
This morning, SC'05 featured a keynote address from Bill Gates, CTO and founder of Microsoft. Prior to the keynote, we watched a video loop, and we heard from the heads of the ACM, and the president-elect of the IEEE, as well as the chairperson of the board for SC'06 in Tampa Florida. The president-elect gave a good and short talk on a number of things, including the need to get more women and minorities into the profession.
SC'05 begins ...
At 7pm PST the network was officially lit with the_ traditional cutting of the optical fibre_, then a ribbon was cut with a large pair wooden handled scissors. Long lines were formed, and much food was consumed. The best thing I saw at the show today is the LightSpace Technology display. The molecular display demo is great, as was the visual human work. The way it works is a very bright digital light pipe technology coupled with diffusive planes for drawing images.
Setup day batch 1
The first batch of setup day photos are up from SC'05. I am on the show floor looking about, talking with people thanks to the Cluster Monkies, andLinux Magazine. Looks to be an interesting show. Please be gentle on my picture taking skills, I am still getting used to this camera. Yes, I did delete pictures of the carpet … I’ll write some comments on what I saw a little later.
SC'05 T -1 and counting
The Sun HPCC group had some nice talks from folks doing real science. Specifically I did get to see a talk on path-integral formalism of molecular dynamics, another on using support vector machines for feature identification in patients with Glaucoma. Also saw quite a bit of stuff we cannot talk about, but it was quite interesting. All in all, a fun time was had by all, but we cannot post pictures as most of the bits were under non-disclosure.
Conference: T -2 days and counting
I am here at the Sun HPCC meeting, as they had asked us for a talk on Opteron performance on single and dual core processors for life and chemical science applications. At this talk we gave a peek at our recent HMMer and NCBI BLAST performance among other things. For HMMer, we believe we currently have the fastest build on Opteron. In some of our benchmark tests, we are very close to a factor of 2 faster than the same machine running the canonical version.
Planes, and automobiles (no trains)
Got here… finally. Seattle is largely sold out of hotel rooms, so I had to get rooms near the airport. Only a short drive to the conference. Could be worse. Weather is cool (a.k.a freezing for those from warmer climates) and wet. The car rental person started telling me all about how many times his car was smashed into, right after I declined the extra coverage… Hmmm…. Maybe that old axiom is in place, the selling starts when the customer says “no”.
Questions to answer at SC05
So there should be lots of folks at SC05 to answer questions about technology, products, performance, TCO, and most anything else connected with supercomputing you could want to ask. Some questions I want to ask are from the good folks at Microsoft (Bill Gates is giving the opening keynote), what specifically their HPC initiative is supposed to give us that we don’t already have? This is not an OS war, or OSS zealotry, just a simple question as to what their offering will bring to the table.
Much has changed in a year. Last year, a number of companies such as Orion were on the rise and the darlings of the event. Companies such as my former employer SGI had a strong presence, reasonable revenues, and there were thoughts of a possible turn around. Startups that garnered far less attention than they deserved, such as Ammasso were there in a limited fashion. Other startups (mercifully unamed) that had something of a flash-in-the-pan quality to them seemed abundant.