Supercomputer scientist Dan Reed notes that Microsoft and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) have announced a collaborative project where Microsoft will offer individual researchers and research groups free access to advanced client-plus-cloud computing. Their focus is on empowering researchers via cloud access to supercomputing.
I am very excited about this, as it is the fruit of nearly two years of planning and collaboration across Microsoft product and research teams, as well as many discussions with researchers, university leaders and government agencies. As part of this project, a technical computing engagement team, led by Dennis Gannon and Roger Barga, will work directly with NSF-funded researchers to port, extend and enhance client tools for data analysis and modeling. We also appreciate the support of the Microsoft Dreamspark, Technical Computing, Windows Azure, Azure Dallas, Public Sector, education and evangelism (DPE) teams, among others, to build and deliver this capability.
By extending the capabilities of powerful, easy-to-use PC applications via Microsoft cloud services, our objective is to broaden researcher capabilities, foster collaborative research communities, and accelerate scientific discovery by shifting the focus from infrastructure to empowerment. This is a potentially profound shift in how we innovate in the 21st century.
At SC09, nVidia was in everything. Nvidia says Tesla server clusters deliver 10 times the performance than CPU-based clusters while consuming less power. Their CUDA parallel computing architecture powers 240 parallel processing cores in each Tesla processor.
At the show nVidia announced the Fermi featuring up to 512 CUDA cores. nVidia’s RealityServer (above) brings complex 3D graphics to virtually any netbook or smartphone by crunching numbers on a server.
Synthetic Aperture Radar on the Global Hawk UAV tracks cars and missiles with an onboard TeraFlop computer from Mercury Computer Systems. Mercury is also developing cellular multi-user detection with adaptive beamforming. Fine Detail Optical Surveillance seeks to develop a fundamentally new battlefield optical intelligence, that can provide ultra high-resolution 3D images to help identify targets in hostile environments. Next generation SensorCraft will require teraflops.
Synthetic imaging uses multiple small spacecraft, operating cooperatively, to synthesize the optical qualities of a much larger single spacecraft while head-mounted multispectral sensors require handheld supercomputers.
Space agencies are exploring Reconfigurable Computing, using FPGAs, such as the new Convey computer (left). The Center for High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing is comprised of more than 30 leading organizations in the field.
While interoperable supercomputer applications running on the cloud are still largely a pipe dream, The Cloud seems destined to enable a new generation of mobile devices running wild with image recognition, voice transcription, medical and geoscience applications — or video games.
A cluster of free-flying spacecraft modules wirelessly share resources and functionality to synthesize the capability of a much larger “virtual” spacecraft in Darpa’s F6 program (pdf) for Operationally Responsive Space.
System F6 incorporates an “open source” format, a new and radical concept in spacecraft systems. All software source code, interfaces, standards and operating systems will be available to everyone, including the public. Fractionated spacecraft bond together wirelessly. It may be incorporated into UAV swarms made by Aurora Flight Sciences and others.
At the Utah Technology Council’s Hall of Fame event in Salt Lake City last November (video), Google CEO Eric Schmidt described his vision of a 100-megabit broadband supercomputer in every pocket.
“A billion people on the planet are carrying supercomputers in their hands,” Schmidt said. “Now you think of them as mobile phones, but that’s not what they really are.”
“They’re video cameras. They’re GPS devices. They’re powerful computers. They have powerful screens. They can do many many different things, and oh, by the way, you can talk on them too.”
IDC predicts cloud computing services will be a $42 billion market by 2012. DARPA is developing brain-on-a-chip technology, scalable to biological levels. If genetic sequencers could be made available to regular physicians to sequence their patients’ DNA in-office, there could be a massive shift toward preventative medicine, lowering health care costs, says Venture Beat.
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