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Unbounded clusters

Especially with the advent of cloud computing, virtualisation and the increasing popularity of GPUs, what a physical computing system looks like is very fluid. Paul Schreier looks into how vendors of cluster management software address the provisioning and workload management needs
resulting from this major trend

Material values

Felix Grant on the application of statistical packages to materials science

Finding the 'science' in GIS

While popular services such as Google Earth and Bing Maps have made basic geographical information system functionality well-known, scientific investigations need considerably more power. Paul Schreier maps the highlights of the GIS product landscape

A booming banking sector

Biobanks have their own unique requirements in terms of data management and, with increasing amounts of molecular data being generated around biobank samples, sophisticated informatics solutions are essential, as Greg Blackman finds out

The ins and outs of HPC

Lee Ward, principal member of technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, tackles HPC-related IO improvements to multiple supercomputing projects

The GPU jump

General-purpose graphical processing units (GPGPUs) have been making inroads into HPC applications, but with the release of chips optimised for scientific computations rather than just graphics processing, this branch is poised to make major market inroads. Paul Schreier examines what's behind this upcoming jump in performance, and its implications

Let's talk about the weather

Stephen Mounsey discovers how high performance computing contributes to atmospheric science and improves the accuracy of weather forecasts

Food for a future

Science and scientific computing can buy us time to cope with the demographic timebomb of population growth, says Felix Grant

All part of the service

Contract laboratories must constantly adapt to meet the requirements of their clients and employ flexible data management solutions to do so, as Greg Blackman finds out

Software signals the way

With wireless capabilities being built into an enormous variety of products and gadgets, the challenges facing antenna designers are greater than ever. Paul Schreier examines how modelling software has improved to aid them along every step of the development and implementation trail

Living in a parallel world

Cleve Moler, co-founder of The MathWorks, believes the benefits of parallel computing should be open to all scientists and engineers, regardless of their expertise as computer programmers

Towards exascale

Arthur 'Buddy' Bland, project director for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, describes the rise from terascale to petascale computing and the road to exascale

Driving change

Stephen Mounsey examines some of the applications of HPC within the automotive industry

Facing the heat

In the design of their servers, computer manufacturers are combating the need for power at every level: from processors, to power supplies, to cooling methods and everything in between. Paul Schreier checked with some major suppliers to investigate what they've been up to

Closing the CAD/CAE gap

Vendors of analysis/CAE software are creating tight interfaces to CAD software; CAD firms are buying up CAE technology. Paul Schreier examines these trends and looks at what they mean to users and where they could take us

HPC as a service

Xi Zili is director of Shanghai Supercomputer Center, providing services for both science and industry

Down by the sea

Felix Grant fishes for data analysis applications among the mysteries of the deep

Fuelling the future

Greg Blackman looks at how data management software is used in the petrochemical industry

HPC colonises the desktop

Computers are continuing along their astounding path down the price/performance curve to the point where you can literally put the power of what we not long ago considered a supercomputer on or beside your desk in an office environment. Paul Schreier reviews some of these powerful systems

Aerospace modelling is taking off

Aircraft are enormously sophisticated systems - and expensive, as well, so effective prototyping becomes a matter of survival. Paul Schreier investigates how CFD and other engineering software tools have become indispensable in optimising aircraft and for developing completely new concepts

Making the connection

HPC system architects are increasingly turning to alternative interconnects such as InfiniBand to replace Ethernet in many situations. Paul Schreier examines what is driving this trend

A taste for LIMS

Greg Blackman looks at the role LIMS, as well as data management software as a whole, plays in putting food on our plates

Asking the big questions

Stephen Mounsey finds out about the computing power behind some of the world's most ambitious scientific projects

Molecular alchemy

Saving untold hours in the laboratory, molecular modelling software allows researchers to determine how to make useful changes to existing substances or make new ones. Paul Schreier takes a glimpse of the tools and techniques researchers are using to find the molecules that will bring us improved drugs and materials

Far more than petaflops

Thomas Lippert, director of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre at Forschungszentrum Jülich explains how supercomputers of highest scalability and scientific users can be brought closer together by means of a new support instrument: the simulation laboratory

Criminal patterns

Felix Grant finds statistical processes applied to the social sciences, and in particular, to crime

Data pharming

Greg Blackman looks at some of the current trends taking place in the pharmaceutical industry with regards to data management

Modelling rides into the future

As auto manufacturers shift towards entirely new types of vehicles, they face a number of engineering challenges. Paul Schreier looks at how design/simulation software is helping them reach their goals more quickly and efficiently

Drilling for fuel

HPC technology is aiding oil and gas companies locate hidden submarine reserves in a fraction of the time taken by previous methods, as Stephen Mounsey discovers

The future for HPC

Hans Meuer, general chair of ISC'09, on emerging trends in high-performance computing

Computer - reconfigure yourself!

Although they're not simple to program, field-programmable gate arrays can greatly accelerate frequently used functions, and you can reprogram them on the fly to tackle new tasks. Paul Schreier examines the impact they are starting to have on HPC

Dedicated to science

Dr Peter Beckman directs the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) in providing the computational science community with world-leading computing capability dedicated to breakthrough science and engineering

Crisis management?

With the world of finance in meltdown, relying on HPC solutions to predict the future is vital, as Stephen Mounsey discovers

Beauty is skin deep

Felix Grant assesses the value of data analysis software in the development and use of surface coatings

Athletes go to the max

A variety of software is being used in the science of sports biomechanics to improve athletes' performance in safe ways. Paul Schreier looks at some interesting applications and the resulting improvements

Clusters have open-source roots

When setting up and configuring an HPC cluster, there is a wide variety of choices when it comes to tools: proprietary software from hardware or software vendors, many open source tools, and open source tools with commercial support. Paul Schreier provides a quick overview of the major players and their offerings

Saving for the future

Greg Blackman looks at some of the data-management challenges facing biobanks and how these repositories of material are being used to advance life-sciences research

The value of pre-validated LIMS

Aaron M Jones, product manager for LIMS at Applied Biosystems, says the reality of COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) LIMS systems depends on the level of pre-validation offered by the vendor

Driven by science

Professor Marek Niezgódka, Director of the ICM Centre at the University of Warsaw, explains why the centre heads the Green Top500 list and concentrates on open systems

A supercomputer chip for every man

While GPUs (graphics processing units) were initially designed to accelerate video and gaming, vendors of science and engineering software are using them to accelerate their code. Paul Schreier looks at the benefits for today and tomorrow

Criminal investigations

The increase in automation in forensic science in the last few years has led to a requirement for data management systems. Greg Blackman looks at the importance of LIMS in forensic laboratories

Weathering well

Gemma Church finds out how scientists are using HPC to predict climate and weather more accurately and efficiently

The human touch

Computing applied to the earth sciences will save human lives, according to Felix Grant

Illuminating optics

Paul Schreier reviews a sample of the applications and breakthrough products that advanced optics software have made possible

Driving NASA missions

Rupak Biswas, chief of NASA's Advanced Supercomputing Division, explains the challenges he faces running one of the most high-profile establishments in the world

Racing ahead

Gemma Church takes a look at how HPC technology is assisting F1 teams at the cutting edge of the sport

The sound of software

Paul Schreier explores how scientific software has allowed some remarkable advances in the area of acoustics, which in turn have led to some very innovative products

An energy crisis in HPC

Green computing is becoming important for HPC, not only for reasons of energy conservation and cost reduction, but also because data centres are reaching the limits of power available to them. Paul Schreier examines steps being taken to cut HPC power requirements

Responsibilities beyond technology

In the first of our new regular features on HPC directors, Stephen Winter, Dean of Informatics at the University of Westminster, explains how his role is as much about advocacy and marketing as it is about choosing and managing the technology.

Leading northern lights

Gemma Church looks at the range of HPC centres and projects undertaken in northern Europe, covering Scandinavia, Benelux and the Nordic Countries

A clean bill of health

Environmental studies often involve handling large data sets. Greg Blackman looks at some of the environmental monitoring applications using data management systems

Down-to-earth modelling

Increasing computer power and new software is making it possible to explore more areas of geological activity in so far unknown detail. Paul Schreier looks at some interesting examples