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China Details Homemade Supercomputer Plan.

Technology Review (01/19/10) Mims, Christopher

Researchers at the Chinese Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) have built a supercomputer using only home-grown microprocessors. The supercomputer, known as the Dawning 6000, will run Linux and will be completed by mid 2010 at the latest, says ICT’s Weiwu Hu. The Dawning 6000 is part of ICT’s Loongson family of computers, which all will use chips based on the MIPS instruction set. The new supercomputer uses Loongson 3 chips in clusters of up to 16 cores. “This is a very high-performance MIPS architecture where, when it’s run in a cluster configuration, it becomes very powerful,” says MIPS Technologies’ Art Swift. Some analysts estimate this configuration could require as few as 782 16-core chips. The main differences between the Loongson 3 chip and earlier versions is it includes hardware translation of x86 instructions and it uses multiple cores, each capable of processing commands independently. One component not included in the Loongson 3 is multithreading, which allows a single core to execute multiple instructions simultaneously, and is included in some Intel and Sun chips. The Loongson 3 could be used in everything from desktop computers to set-top boxes.

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Quantum Age Edges Closer.

University of New South Wales (01/05/10) Trute, Peter

University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers have led an international team in placing an electron in a nano-sized device on a silicon chip in two different ways. The techniques are breakthroughs that represent a key step in the development of quantum computing. The team reports that it accurately placed a single electron in silicon, adding that it was not attached to an atom. The researchers call the artificial atom a quantum dot, and note that they did not have to place single atoms in precise locations in a silicon chip. The researchers also report they were involved in another project in which “nature’s own way,” or binding electrons to single atoms, was used to place electrons in a silicon chip. The research lays the foundation for efforts to observe and then control the electron’s spin to create a quantum bit. UNSW professors Andrew Dzurak and Andrea Morello worked with Ph.D. students Wee Han Lim and Kuan Yen Tan, University of Melbourne professor David Jamieson, and Helsinki University of Technology professor Mikko Mottonen on the projects.

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Knowledge Computing Offers New Perspectives in Scientific Computing.

Fraunhofer Institute (12/16/09)

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI) and the Julich Supercomputing Center (JSC) have employed automated annotation software on grid-connected supercomputers to execute queries in more than 50,000 pharmaceutical patents. Queries currently yield interesting insights into biological-chemical intersections, and the analysis of chemistry is multi-modal in the sense that text- and image-based information can be analyzed concurrently. The annotation services in the grid infrastructure was managed through the use of the Uniform Interface to Computing Resource (UNICORE) grid middleware, which also controlled the input/output data streams from the patents database to the annotation services, and monitored the overall progress. The knowledge extraction was performed by a supercomputer linked to the infrastructure of the German Grid Initiative by UNICORE, says JSC researcher Achim Streit. “This initial step of the experiment demonstrates what is possible today and shows the potential for more complex production runs in the future, using [high-performance computing] systems connected in grid infrastructures,” he says. Fraunhofer SCAI director Ulrich Trottenberg notes that through this effort, Fraunhofer “has contributed to a new field of applications for supercomputers: What we call knowledge computing is likely to become a new discipline on its own.”

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SETI@home 10 year anniversary video.

Click here for the video

This video was produced by the SETI@home team as they celebrate their 10th anniversary. The video contains very detailed descriptions and in depth discussions of distributed computing, BOINC and SETI@home. While the video was originally recorded/distributed in segments – this video has some of those segments rearranged by category from the general to the specific so as to first describe the history of DC/SETI/BOINC, the workings of BOINC, and finally the methodology and detailed workings of SETI@home.