June/July 2014


Why supercomputers are becoming cool machines

By the time this issue of Scientific Computing World leaves the printers, Europe’s first high-performance cluster to be cooled by total immersion in mineral oil will have started operations at the University of Vienna.

The official inauguration will take place later, in the presence of local dignitaries. But the Netherlands-based integrator ClusterVision, which provided the machine, is already working on another total immersion machine for a customer in the UK. A slightly different design, this cluster is due to become operational by the end of the summer.


Exascale Challenges

Extrapolating the performance delivered by the fastest systems in the world in recent years suggests that an exascale system could be built in 2018. However, the approach that has often led to the development of the next generation of supercomputers – more of the same but bigger and faster – is no longer tenable. Additional compute power cannot be achieved by cranking up the processor clock-speed because this also cranks up the power consumption.


Paperless Lab Academy

Gayle Dagnell, of the contract research organisation Evotec, summed up a central message of the Paperless Lab Academy (PLA), when she observed: ‘People initially did not want to change.’ But after implementation of a new informatics system within the organisation: ‘100 per cent said they did not want to go back to the old way of doing things’.


Fields of data

One factor that sets the agricultural sector apart from other industries is the diverse range of scientific disciplines that go into developing a single product.