• October 2011
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A Step Forward Toward Quantum Computers

 Asociacion RUVID (10/18/11)

 Researchers at Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (UPV) and Universitat Miguel Hernandez d’Elx (UMH) have developed a model that describes the full operation in a quantum regime of integrated optical modulators, which makes it possible for quantum computers to reach speeds of about 100 gigabytes per second.  The modulators could be used in future logical systems and quantum computers by applying the properties presented in the study, says UPV’s Jose Capmany.  “The ability to integrate several of these components into an optical chip opens the door to designing more complex, less expensive circuits by taking advantage of the economies of scale provided by photonic integration,” Capmany says.  The UPV-UMH study is a step toward the development of quantum communication and quantum computers, which would be a revolution in the telecommunications field.  “Currently, one of the obstacles to their development is that the demonstrations that have been made were based on extremely bulky assemblies, which entailed conditions that can only be reproduced in controlled laboratory environments,” Capmany says.


An Ecosystem of Supercomputers to Take India to Next Level

 Financial Express (India) (10/17/11) Ajay Sukumaran

As part of the 12th Five Year Plan, which runs from 2012-2017, India’s ministry of science and technology is considering the development of an ecosystem of high-performance computers that would provide supercomputing access to at least 25 percent of the country’s scientific population.  The Indian Institute of Science’s N. Balakrishnan is leading a national effort to map India’s capability in supercomputing, including building a four-tier ecosystem of machines with greater involvement in the private sector.  The first tier will include about six supercomputers with between 3 and 6 petaflops of computing power each, followed by 12 to 20 supercomputers that run at 200 to 500 teraflops.  The third tier will include 20 to 50 systems with 10-teraflop speed, and the lowest rung will include 50 to 100 regional 1-teraflop supercomputers.  “On the software development side, both for programming on the multicore as well as for scientific software development, the private industries will play a significant role,” according to Balakrishnan.  He says that once the 12th plan is complete, India will look to develop an exaflop system.


Massachusetts Schools Team Up for Supercomputer Center

 Associated Press (10/09/11) Stephen Singer

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computer Center (MGHPCC) aims to capitalize on the huge boost in the amount of computer power available for academic research.  Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts formed the venture to improve academic research in protein structure, fluid flows, the dynamics of the earth’s atmosphere, human social interaction, the evolution of the galaxy, and other issues.  Each university invested $10 million in the project.  The MGHPCC also received $25 million from the state of Massachusetts and $2.5 million from both EMC Corp. and Cisco Systems.  The center is designed to appeal to companies and other businesses looking to establish a high-tech presence in western Massachusetts.  It also helps meet a growing a demand for more powerful computers to do wider-ranging research, says Thom Dunning, director of the National Center for Supercomputing at the University of Illinois.  “The driver is the complexity of scientific problems we’re encountering,” Dunning says.  Only about a dozen employees will work at the 90,000-square-foot building, as most of the research will be performed remotely from university campuses.


Experimental Mathematics: Computing Power Leads to Insights

American Mathematical Society (10/13/11) Mike Breen;

Annette Emerson In a forthcoming article, “Exploratory Experimentation and Computation,” American Mathematical Society (AMS) researchers will describe how modern computer technology has expanded society’s ability to discover new mathematical results. “By computing mathematical expressions to very high precision, the computer can discover completely unexpected relationships and formulas,” says AMS researcher David H. Bailey. “The computer can be seen as a perfect complement to humans—we can intuit but not reliably calculate or manipulate; computers are not yet very good at intuition, but are great at calculations and manipulations.” The article notes that the inductive aspect of mathematics now includes the use of computers, which have increased the amount of exploration that can be completed. The article also discusses the need to redesign mathematics education to include experimental mathematics tools. “The students of today live, as we do, in an information-rich, judgment-poor world in which the explosion of information, and of tools, is not going to diminish,” says AMS researcher Jonathan M. Borwein. “We have to teach judgment [not just concern with plagiarism] when it comes to using what is already possible digitally.”


Russia Plans to Build Exascale Supercomputer in 2020

CNews.ru (09/29/11)

Russia plans to build an exascale-class supercomputer by 2020, according to experts attending a meeting of Russia’s National HPC Technology Platform. The project is expected to have a budget of nearly $1.5 billion, and the supercomputer would be used for specific jobs in strategically key sectors such as defense and the oil and gas industries. The project also includes plans to build a special processor for the supercomputer, as well as a high-performance computing platform, systems, and applied software. Russia’s Federal Nuclear Center announced the launch of the country’s first petascale system this year. Development would begin in 2012, and the system would reach up to 10 to 15 Pflops in 2014-2015, and up to 100 Pflops in 2017-2018. Academic organizations will carry out the fundamental research, while the state nuclear corporation Rosatom and T-Platforms will develop the hardware. T-Platforms also could help develop the system architecture and the microelectronics. The supercomputer at Lomonosov Moscow State University, which has a performance of 1.3 Pflops, is currently Russia’s most powerful machine.