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HPC Gone Wild: The SC09 Video Parade Begins

The first videos from SC09 are here. We take a look at the Beowulf Bash, SCinet, NVidia, and Adaptive Computing (previously Cluster Resources

Most people are not comfortable in front of a camera. For some strange reason, I am. I don’t think I have any particular star quality and certainly I’m no threat to Brad Pitt or his dog, but I find it easier than writing. So rather than write a bunch about what is going on at SC09, I ran around the show floor with my camera man, Vien Hong, and did interviews and other interesting things.

In terms of camera work, I definitely fall into the Clint Eastwood style. One take, maybe a redo if someone falls over, but that is it. I also do things pretty much unscripted. I’ll ask companies, “What is new?,” and invite them give me a quick overview. Well, in most cases it is quick. I may also ask some questions or make some embarrassing comments, but this is the age of YouTube and reality TV. Why practice?

In all fairness, I do rely on my knowledge of HPC to ask some questions and I try to get unscripted natural answers from the people I interview. I like to do the interviews on the show floor rather than in a “quiet spot” because it tends to provide a more informal setting and discussion. In the coming weeks, I’ll be introducing new videos each week. I’ll provide some commentary as well — a little back story if you will. Let me know what you think as I am always trying to improve my craft (cough, cough).

Let’s begin with one event that is near and dear to my heart — The Beowulf Bash. I am proud to say that I was one of the founders of this event. Back in the day when HPC clustering was the bastard child of the show, I had the desire to get all those who conversed on the Beowulf Mailing to talk to each other in person. Far fetched, I know, but it worked. The event has become a huge success drawing over 400 people each year. There was even a line to get in the door. The Bash video starts out with some words from our sponsors, but you get to see Don Becker moonlighting as the MC and of course the band singing about supercomputers (at the end) is pretty funny. Oh, and don’t miss Tom Sterling’s comments in the middle.

With the big social event out of the way, lets move on to the SC09 exhibits. This next video chronicles my entrance onto the show floor through a secret entrance so I would be mobbed by fans. I also head over to one of the show highlights SCinet. SCinet is designed and built entirely by volunteers from universities, government and industry and can push 300 Gigabits a second over the network. I get that half right in the first video.

As everyone knows, GP-GPU’s are all the rage in HPC. I stopped by NVidia to get the latest and greatest from Andy Keane, General Manager of Tesla Supercomputing. In this video we see three NVidia products including real Fermi processors running in the booth. I also get to inquire about the curious tip jar in the NVidia booth (at the end).

This weeks final video is with Adaptive Computing formerly Cluster Resources. I find the name change interesting and a sign that HPC is undergoing a significant change. I call it Cluster 3.0 where applications drive the provisioning and execution of jobs. That is, the entire software infrastructure is now dynamic and everything from the application to the OS is booted at runtime. They use the cloud word, but not in the sense of a virtualized cloud, but more like a HPC cloud with dynamic provisioning. I’ll let Trev Harmon and Peter Ffoulkes of Adaptive Computing explain further.

In the coming weeks, I’ll have more videos and some HPC hijinks as well. I enjoy interviewing people, but the limited amount of time only allowed me to visit a fraction of the companies and people I see at SC. Next week I’ll have new and exciting SC09 videos and I promise no more Gladiator Movie comments. And, not to worry, the booth babes, sorry, I mean the professional booth personnel are coming.

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