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Cloud Essential to R&D in Australia: NICTA.

Computerworld Australia (12/10/10) Chloe Herrick

National ICT Australia (NICTA) is using cloud computing to access computational and storage resources at an unprecedented scale. “The ability to process literally billions and billions of records of data at a very short completion time means we can conduct science experiments in particular domains that we haven’t been able to do so before,” says NICTA principal research leader Anna Liu. “The other value of cloud computing is we can use it right now, we do not necessarily have to spend a lot of time to secure a large infrastructure grant in order to build up our own compute clusters and then to do science experiments with it.” Microsoft recently announced a partnership with NICTA, the Australian National University, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization to provide the organizations with three years of free access to Microsoft’s Windows Azure Cloud computing platform. “What we need to do, is let scientists be scientists, they don’t want to be system administrators, they want to focus on the science and be able to access very large amounts of data and the tools to analyze that data in easy ways, and they want to be able to do it from their desktop,” says Microsoft Research director Dennis Gannon.

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IBM Xeon-Based Supercomputer to Hit Three Petaflops.

eWeek Europe (United Kingdom) (12/14/10) Matthew Broersma

IBM plans to build an Intel Xeon-based supercomputer that will reach a peak speed of three petaflops and use a hot water-cooling system, which will result in 40 percent less power consumption than an air-cooled machine. The system, called SuperMUC, will be housed at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) as part of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure, according to Intel. The SuperMUC system will be IBM’s second water-cooled supercomputer, following the Aquasar system that was set up at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in July. IBM’s hot-water cooling technique cools HPC components with warm water and uses micro-channel liquid coolers hooked directly to the processors. Water generally removes heat 4,000 times more efficiently than air, according to Intel. “SuperMUC will provide previously unattainable energy efficiency along with peak performance by exploiting the massive parallelism of Intel’s multicore processors and leveraging the innovative hot-water cooling technology pioneered by IBM,” says LRZ’s Arndt Bode. The system will use more than 14,000 Xeon processors. IBM’s development team will rely on Intel researchers for energy-efficiency contributions, and LRZ researchers for their expertise in high-end supercomputing systems.

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