Podcast for fans of supercomputing and other technology topics. Since 2012.
Podcast for fans of supercomputing and other technology topics. Since 2012.
Tribute to Rich Brueckner, 1962-2020
by Dan Olds This is a tough blog to write for this RadioFreeHPC episode. This is the episode where we say a final goodbye to our co-founder and comrade in arms Rich Brueckner. Rich passed away suddenly last week leaving us shocked and shaken. The whole genesis of RFHPC came out of Rich and I sitting around the press area of GTC 2012 and talking about what we could do to bring a little more life into the HPC community. We batted around several ideas but finally came up with the idea of a long-form podcast that would tackle every topic in tech – as long as it was big and fast. With that idea in mind, we recruited Henry Newman, started production, and the rest is history as they say. We added Shahin Khan to our host lineup to add more technical heft and to give us increased flexibility to cover our travel schedules. But after nearly six years, Rich’s ultra-busy schedule didn’t allow him to continue working with us on RFHPC, but he remained a friend of the show, promoting it on his InsideHPC site. Our latest addition to our roster is rookie host Jessie Lanum, an outstanding university student who has added enthusiasm and a youthful viewpoint to our show. In this episode, we pay tribute to Rich, sharing our own thoughts about him - plus the thoughts and memories from HPC community members. There are several funny stories in here, along with heartfelt acknowledgement of the vital role Rich played in our HPC community. So please give a listen and share your thoughts and stories. I’d also like to call your attention to the following links. These are shows that either feature Rich prominently or have us talking about Rich in depth. They really show his sense of humor, how highly we regarded him and his commitment to HPC. Take a look or listen, I think you’ll enjoy them…. RF-HPC Episode 18-1: This is our first holiday episode. In this show, Henry and I discuss the perfect Christmas gifts for Rich and make fun of his Apple addiction. Check out the videos on these picks, they’re funnier than the audio version. RF-HPC Episode 18-2: In this one, Rich and Dan talk about the perfect Christmas gifts for Henry. The picture of Henry as a Tibetan monk is one of Rich’s all-time favorites. RF-HPC Episode 18-3: To finish out this series, Rich and Henry talk about what they’d give me for Christmas. RF-HPC Episode 218: A Hard Look at Santa’s Big Data Challenges RF-HPC Episode 214: Rich & Dan report on the CHPC South African conference, plus the CHPC cluster competition too! Thank you for all the memories and all of your hard work, Rich. You did good for a lot of people. Join us!* Download the MP3 * Sign up for the insideHPC Newsletter * Follow us on Twitter * Subscribe on Spotify * Subscribe on Google Play * Subscribe on iTunes * RSS Feed * eMail us
Debate This: Server Sales Up 30% in Q1, Says Analyst Firm
We start off with an update from our crew. Jessie is at Purdue putting her belongings into storage in order to clear out her current abode. Shahin is doing fine, all quarantined up down in Silicon Valley. Henry has big news: he’s completed his north-south journey and is now staying in a hotel very close to his newly constructed survivalist bunker near scenic Los Cruces, NM. What’s great for the workers finishing up the house is that Henry will now be there EVERY DAY to help them expedite construction and offer pro tips. That must be a dream come true for them. Henry also announced that he’s going to host us RadioFreeHPC hosts for a live broadcast from his compound sometime in August. He’ll have his home pizza oven fired up and we’ll have a veritable feast while taking copious video of his new bunker and putting together a couple of shows. It should be a lot of fun. Getting to our main topic, we discuss how the server business has been very healthy in the first quarter – growing more than 30% - which is astounding given these virus laden times. Henry links these results to his research that shows that Akami’s bandwidth use has grown a similar 30% during the first quarter. We speculate (and argue a little) over whether the bump in server sales can be attributed to folks buying pre-emptively to handle anticipated demand or whether they’re meeting current demand. Shahin and Dan feel that there was already excess capacity, since there haven’t been any reports of internet speed/capacity problems during the quarantine. Our discussion continues on with speculation about just when the supply chain kink caused by the virus impacting component makers will hit the market. The lost production can’t be made up instantly and we also believe that there is probably going to be a demand shock at least with enterprise and, to a lesser extent HPC customers, because they simply don’t have the will to launch new IT projects in this environment. We’re not entirely sure we buy these numbers, since it’s from an analyst firm we’re not familiar with. Reasons Why No One Should Ever Be Online. Ever.Henry dug up a very timely hack this week, with an article detailing how hackers have built a Trojan Horse version of the widely-used Zoom video conferencing software. If you download Zoom from the wrong place, it will install Zoom – but with added ‘features’ that will allow hackers to pown your box – definitely not fun. So be sure you get your Zoom from either the company itself or from a reputable source. Catch of the WeekJessi: Her topic is how spending on cyber security lobbying has more than tripled in the last few years. The cybersec folks are, thankfully, lobbying in favor of more security and privacy, often in direct opposition to industry giants Facebook and Google. Henry: The above referenced Akami article is Henry’s catch. He discusses how Akami is pumping out 167 terabits of data per second, but warns that this won’t be nearly enough when you consider the potential additional traffic due to the conversion to 5G. He puts forward a compelling argument that web infrastructure isn’t ready for the data deluge that is 5G. Nicely done, Henry. Shahin: Brings up our recent “Charles Babbage: His Life & Times” dramatic presentation (it was awesome) to discuss how Baidu is now able to clone voices with just 3.7 seconds of samples. With more samples, it can change accents and even genders. He suggests that this could be good for our next drama foray. Dan: Starts a group discussion about how some college students are now suing their host institutions over Covid19 disruptions in order to get a portion of their tuition and fees returned or reduced. Jessi, as our resident undergrad, weighs in with several powerful points while the others chip in with their old man knowledge. Join us!* Download the MP3 *
ColdQuanta Serves Up Some Bose-Einstein Condensate
The show starts with Dan, Jessi and Shahin in attendance. Henry is traveling from his old home base in Minnesota to his new command bunker in lovely Las Cruces, NM. Last we heard he was in Kansas City and making good time. We’re not sure how long we’re going to have to do without him as Comcast seems to be slow playing him on his internet installation timeline. Why Freeze the Whole Room If you Just want a Frozen Atom?Our big topic today is the quantum computing company ColdQuanta. It’s headed by an old pal of ours Bo Ewald and has just come out of stealth mode into the glaring spotlight of RadioFreeHPC. They have a unique approach to quantum computing, trapping atoms themselves to create Bose-Einstein Condensate. This is a fifth state of matter, which matters quite a bit. When you freeze a gas of Bosons at low density to near zero, you start to get macroscopic access to microscopic quantum mechanical effects, which is a pretty big deal. With the quantum mechanics start, you can control it, change it, and get computations out of it. The secret sauce for ColdQuanta is served cold, all the way down into the micro-kelvins and kept very locally, which makes it easier to get your condensate. The company is focused on measurement and sensing but also mention straight computation, the latter like most of the other quantum competitors. They were the first company to put their quantum computer in space and the first to create Bose-Einstein Condensate while in orbit at the International Space Station. Catch of the WeekJessi: Want to chill out and help NASA at the same time? Jessi has found a way with NeMO-Net, a game where users cruise through an animated ocean floor and classify coral structures. Your answers are then fed into NASA’s Pleiades supercomputer, which uses the data as fodder to improve it’s own identification prowess. It’s a great way to while away the hours during these Covid19 shut downs, right? Shahin: has two catches, the first is a celebration of IBM’s quant-iversary, marking the fourth anniversary of them having a quantum computer on the web – many happy returns to Big Blue. They’re also sponsoring a contest, see the web link for details. In his second catch, Shahin shamelessly promotes his recent talk at the HPC AI Advisory Council virtual Stanford conference. He did a great job on covering just about every buzzword topic in the industry in only 30 minutes, well done. Dan: Dano likes fast things and seeing fast things get even faster. This is what attracted him to the story about ISV Risk Fuel and Microsoft’s Azure posting an article boasting a 20 million x speedup of derivative processing. A 20 million times speedup of anything is pretty significant and they achieve this with a combination of 8 NVIDIA V100 GPUs (w/32GB memory each), InfiniBand and Risk Fuel’s amazing software. What’s great about this is that with this speed the model has complete fidelity with traditional calculations. In other words, you can speed all you like without any downside when it comes to accuracy – amazing stuff. Join us!* Download the MP3 * Sign up for the insideHPC Newsletter * Follow us on Twitter * Subscribe on Spotify * Subscribe on Google Play * Subscribe on iTunes * RSS Feed * eMail us
What Good Did It Do? Quite a Lot, and Quite the Story
A typical show opening, but we’re missing Henry – he was away packing for his big move from his long-time home base in Minnesota to his new bunker in Las Cruces. He’s packing up all of his memorabilia, like his first punch card sets, his core memory collection and his home terminal, lovingly wrapping them up for the long trip south. News AlertNEWS ALERT: we interrupt this show blog for a special announcement. We’re having a contest! This is the digital version of the "18th caller" contest. The 18th emailer to RFHPC, starting now, will receive what Dan might describe as a fantastic prize from us at Radio Free HPC. Send in your email entries now, and listen to the show for details. This might take a couple of weeks, it might take a couple of years, but we're nothing if not good with small numbers and large units. And that 18th lucky emailer deserves a prize. A Cool New Book ProjectWe have a special guest today, David Barkai, a 50-year veteran of HPC. David has worked in a wide variety of positions at NASA, Intel, Cray, SGI and others. His project now is writing a book to chronicle the last 50 years in HPC told from the perspective of those who were there. The main emphasis in the book is examining the good that HPC has done in the world, which is quite the story. He’s looking at the applications that have changed the world, from weather forecasting to safer and quieter cars and so on, and the system architectures that have made them possible in a decade-by-decade tour of HPC development. 1970s: Vector Processors1980s: Multiprocessors1990s: Massive Parallelism2000s: Clusters and Accelerators2010s and beyond: HPC and AI/CloudAs David says in our interview, the top HPC systems have advanced 10-15 times faster than Moore’s Law, which is astounding. In the book he goes into detail about how the industry drove performance at such a dizzying pace. He’s still writing away and is interested in hearing about your HPC journey to help fill out the book. You can reach him here. Reasons Why No One Should Ever Be Online. Ever.Henry is practicing what he preaches and is not online right now as he waits to the internet company to get him connected again. Catch of the Week:Jessi: Google’s head of Quantum computing hardware resigns. John Martinis resigned after being assigned to an advisory role in the company. Shahin: Discusses a paper on Coarse Grain Reconfigurable Architecture (CGRA) as a way of having performance and programmability closer to the metal. Its survey of what's been going on in this area with FPGAs is great and may also point to what we can expect in future supercomputers. Dan: Subs for Henry with a horrible impression for a first catch. But his real catch is a plug for the Radio Free HPC Studio Products production of “Charles Babbage, his life and times.” It’s an impressive production with chills, thrills and plenty of action. Don’t put it off, listen now. All those reviews are great for a reason! Join us!* Download the MP3 * Sign up for the insideHPC Newsletter * Follow us on Twitter * Subscribe on Spotify * Subscribe on Google Play * Subscribe on iTunes * RSS Feed * eMail us
Honeywell Traps, Zaps Ions for Science
Dan starts this episode with, as usual, an introduction of the cast. Henry reports that he’s only three weeks away from his epic move from Minnesota to Los Cruces, New Mexico. Trapping Those Unruly IonsWe quickly move to our main topic: Honeywell’s Trapped Ion Quantum computing initiative. Shahin gives us a good overview of digital vs. analog and classical vs. quantum science (I recommend listeners white board out the quadrants he’s describing and their contents). The Honeywell system is in the ‘quantum-gate’ quadrant of Shahin’s model, suspending ions in space through magnetics and then hitting them with lasers to produce entanglement. The Honeywell system is interesting because it is scoring well on the emerging Quantum Volume metric – showing very high fidelity for its qubit count. This system is the culmination of over 10 years of R&D and should be on the market later on this year. Studying from HomeHow does studying from home compare to working from home? Our second topic today is a dive into how universities are operating during the virus-related physical campus closings. Our own Jessi explains how her Purdue classes are now being conducted online with professors either video recording lectures or narrating slide decks. Some of her classes are truncated due to platform limits and tech problems. This is probably to be expected given the sudden move to online. There are practical considerations as well. Many students were on spring break when the lock downs went into place, so they don’t have their books or clothes with them. Jessi definitely does not think that online universities are the wave of the future. She strongly prefers the physical model where she can interact with students and professors. According to Jessi, nothing beats the physical model when it comes to higher ed. Reasons Why No One Should Ever Be Online. Ever.This week, Henry hips us to the fact that Chinese hackers may have been living in the guts of Linux since 2012. This is truly a chilling thought, as Linux runs a good portion of mission critical systems and almost all the cloud systems in the world. How big a threat is this? Listen to the pod to find out. Catch of the WeekJessi: COBOL LIVES! The state of New Jersey is desperately looking for COBOL programmers to keep their creaky unemployment insurance system cranking along. Henry: hooked a big fish, but passed it over to Shahin who thinks it's pretty sublime. Shahin: landed Henry’s catch, which is a very rare film of the WW2 British code breakers hard at work at the legendary Bletchley Park site. Amazing stuff. Dan: a rare empty net week for Dano, sad, very sad. Join us!* Download the MP3 * Sign up for the insideHPC Newsletter * Follow us on Twitter * Subscribe on Spotify * Subscribe on Google Play * Subscribe on iTunes * RSS Feed * eMail us
SIHOGLIC: The Life & Times of Charles Babbage
RadioFreeHPC Studios PresentsSlightly Inaccurate History of Great Leaps in Computing (SIHOGLIC)Edition OneIn this groundbreaking production, RadioFreeHPC Studios reenacts dramatic moments in the life of computing genius Charles Babbage. We breath life into his early days, his many battles and his Babbage-worthy achievements. We can honestly say, without hyperbole, that this is the finest podcast theater treatment of a computing pioneers’ life. Ever. Just read the reviews: “We laughed until we stopped” – Natural Science Online “I could clearly hear voices and things…” – Fluid Dynamics Theater Reviews “It wasn’t all that long...” – LINPACK News & Reviews "The acting!" – Play Reviews “The acting was skillful, the writing brilliant, the overall production gets two big thumbs up!” – Pay & Play Re-Reviews The Cast:Shahin Khan: Narrator Dan Olds: Babbage senior, Charles Babbage, Advertiser Jessi Lanum: Babbage mother, Disgruntled student, Advertiser, Town crier "Special guest star": Henry Newman, as Henry Newman Written by Dan Olds, Jessi Lanum, with honorable mention to Shahin Khan and "special guest star" writer Henry Newman, who read it once. Produced by Dan Olds Special criticism by Shahin Khan Join us for this groundbreaking podcast and revel in the rich texture that is Charles Babbage’s life story. Enjoy!* Download the MP3 * Sign up for the insideHPC Newsletter * Follow us on Twitter * Subscribe on Spotify * Subscribe on Google Play * Subscribe on iTunes * RSS Feed * eMail us
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