The world's fastest computers are Linux computers: Computerworld cyber cynic Steven Vaughan-Nichols notes that Linux computers are the fastest ones in the world. He points to a Jay Lyman, analyst at The 451 Group, quote: "When considered as the primary OS or part of a mixed-OS supersystem, Linux is now present in 469 of the supercomputer sites, 93.8 percent of the Top500 list. This represents about 10 more sites than in November 2007 when Linux had presence in 91.8 percent of the systems. In fact, Linux is the only operating system that managed gains in the November 2008 list."
And Mr. Vaughan-Nichols take on the 10th place Windows HPC Server 2008 system on the latest Top500 list? He thinks "this was really more of a stunt than a demonstration ... You see, there are no Microsoft programming tools to write supercomputer compatible applications."
HPCs could "save the economy"
Beef up industrial by investing in the virtual infrastructure too: Computerworld's Patrick Thibodeau thinks that investing in HPC systems, making them more available to US businesses, could help make the US economy more stable and innovative. In 2007, US public and private sector spending on HPC systems only ranked about US$10b (while the government has spent US$150b keeping insurance company AIG afloat). He argues that the simulation abilities of HPC (Thibodeau likens it to "Second Life for engineers") can eliminate much of the R&D costs of a complex new product or process. He even mentions a pilot program between the Ohio Supercomputer Center and the Edison Welding Institute in which Edison makes a Web-based user interface available to welding engineers at its client firms so they can test a wide range of data related to the joining of various materials on an OSC supercomputer.
Linux: From "grazing to gorging" on the UNIX market
Is UNIX in a losing battle with Linux?: Datamation's Paul Rubens sort of echoes the first entry in this group -- that Linux is not only stealing UNIX's thunder in the server market, but has already conquered it in the compute-intensive realm of supercomputing. He recalls that 10 years ago, UNIX owned 497 of the Top500 (with Linux on a single system). By 2003, UNIX is still on top (with 289 systems) but Linux is coming from behind (184). And in the November 2008 list, Linux owns 439 and UNIX a paltry 23. (31 systems run a mix of the two.)
New modeling abilities can lead to new methods: Can the ability to do simulations -- massively complex, multivariate simulations -- at unheard of speeds change how science is performed? According to scientists at the recent SC08 conference, absolutely.
- "The scientific method has changed for the first time since Galileo invented the telescope. It's getting to the point where simulation is actually the third branch of science. We say that nature is always the arbiter of truth, but it turns out our ability to observe nature is fundamentally limited," said computer scientist Mark Seager of LLNL.
- "The new capability allows you to do fundamentally new physics and tackle new problems and it will accelerate the transition from basic research to applied technology," said Thomas Zacharia of ORNL.
Briefer Top500 tests may be called for: Even some of the organizers of the Top500 list think the benchmarks used to test supercomputer performance is getting too top heavy to handle -- and they are looking for input to see how they might modify the test. At the recent SC08, Jack Dongarra, one of the Top500 officials, noted: "It's clear this is a problem. It is getting out of control at this point, so we have to do something. We'll make some changes to the benchmarks. We don't know what those changes are, yet. We're looking for feedback from the community to determine what those changes should be." Changes like maybe only running a portion of the full Linpack test.
SW blurs the lines between super- and regular computing: One visitor to the recent SC08 conference, Stacey Higginbotham, made the connection that "since supercomputers can be built with commodity chips and networking gear, high-performance computing isn't really about the hardware like it was back in the days of Cray ... today it's all about the software." She goes on to postulate that it is the software that will enable the supercomputer to jump from the science-only realm to the workstation arena (and probably even further, into the device market). One other area in which software will be of extreme importance to supercomputing is in bolstering labor -- for many current supercomputer installations, there are hired programmers (science/government installations) and volunteer programmers (universities) to tune and keep the systems running. Many businesses cannot afford this cost -- that's where the appropriate software comes in.
| Programming with Cell/B.E. Security SDK: The series|
The series of mini-guides is taken from the original "Cell BE Security SDK v3.0 Installation and User's Guide." The rest are from IBM developerWorks.
M I N I - G U I D E S
What the Cell/B.E. Security SDK 3.0 does, how it does it, and whether you should use it.
SDK components, secure memory mapping, return error codes, and tool use in the emulated isolation mode.
Key hierarchy from a high level
Introduce key hierarchy, detail key naming conventions, overview application trust and encryption chains and application visible keys.
Application trust chain
Details on the application trust chain, a way to verify authorization and that no tampering has taken place.
Application encryption chain
Details on the application encryption chain, a way to protect application code and deployment.
Application visible keys
Details on application visible keys, keys generated by the loader to be passed to the secure application.
Secure File System
Secure File System (SFS) resource which provides a set of APIs that implement reading and writing encrypted and verified files; the file layout.
SFS encrypted content
What's in Secure File System resource encrypted content.
Using SFS APIs
How to use Secure File System resource APIs.
Implementing the Secure File System resource.
Intro to building apps
Introduction to building, testing, and securing applications; the SPE Secure Application Build Tool.
Building apps programming example
SPU/PPE code samples to help you build and execute an application.
Data transfer APIs
Close look at using four data-transfer functions:
Secure File Storage APIs
A close look at using seven Secure File Storage functions:
A close look at four topic areas:
change_ppuassist_buf_len, unsupported libc.a functions, unsupported libgloss.a functions, limited support libc.a functions.
Six programming examples: Changing the default compiler; synching the system root directory for recompiles; demonstrating how a SPU program can perform file operations; copying encrypted data and using system memory as a secure shared buffer; opying nncrypted data with Replay Protection; demonstrating a fully encrypted SPU program.
C O D E S A M P L E S
Cell/B.E. SDK: Code sample directory
Where to find code samples for the SDK.
|DOWNLOAD SDK | SDK LIBRARY | BACK to BLOG | BACK to ZONE|
... at half the energy: Or, to paraphrase another cartoon, the cat tried but couldn't catch the bird. The IBM-constructed LANL Roadrunner (see disclaimer on name use) is still No. 1 on the Top500 Supercomputing Sites list, the ninth time in a row an IBM machine grabbed the top spot. At 1.105pflops, the LANL Roadrunner just beat out the Cray XT5 QC Jaguar (at 1.059pflops), the second plus-pflops machine. LANL Roadrunner also was roughly twice as energy-efficient as No. 2 (IBM took the energy effiency prize in the list -- the 20 top systems belonged to Big Blue).
Securing an energy future with performance
Grabbing the advantage through the ability to simulate: Besides cutting the cost of finding oil, the Repsol Kaleidoscope project is also hoping to demonstrate that the ability to rapidly develop and display complex simulations (like the company's doing with its Cell/B.E.-based system) can be the key to securing the world's energy future. Repsol just fired up its system to add some speed to advanced seismic imaging so the company can better visualize oil accumulations lying deep beneath the ocean floor.
November 17 the birthday: According to Sony Insider, there are nearly 17 million PS3 systems around the world. That's an installed base!
Going on right now: SC08 (November 15-21, Austin, Texas) is all about fast interconnects, including
- QLogic's quad-rate Infiniband switches based on a new ASIC with 36 ports running at up to 40Gbps.
- Alacritech's upgraded 10Gb Ethernet adapter card that can be used for partial offload of TCP/IP processing.
There's also a posting session by the LANL authors of "Entering the Petaflop Era: The Architecture and Performance of Roadrunner," plus scads of papers detailing programming and networking techniques to leverage a massively parallel, multicore system and that demonstrate practical uses of supercomputing power, from tire development to electron transport systems. It is a bonanza of knowledge!
Turning DNA strands into fiber optical cables: ChalmersUofTech researchers want to praise their new technique because it allows them to easily convert strands of DNA into very small fibre optic cables. The key is assembling chromophores (molecules that absorb and pass light) in a chain. The group used a YO chromophore that has a strong affinity for DNA molecules -- it hungrily jams itself in between the basepair rungs of DNA strands. Just like that, you've got a 20nm long/1-2nm wide optical wire, the perfect size for microchip interconnects. They placed a molecule that would accept light on one end and one that would emit light at the other.
A downside is that in early testing, it shows the strands naturally transmit about 30 percent of the light received; also, since they are naturally replicating, precise positioning along the strand can't be acertained so variations could exist. On the extraplus side, though, if one chromophore gets damaged, another will naturally take its place so they are self-healing. Some uses: Artificial photosynthesis to replace solar panels, optical computers.
All the antimatter you can eat
Cooking with lasers: Lawrence Livermore researchers have a recipe for antimatter -- shoot an intense laser through a pinhead-size gold bit and whooosh! 100 billion particles of antimatter (positrons). The laser drives accelerated ions (loose electrons) through the gold where they interact with the gold nuclei. The interaction makes the electrons emit pure energy packets which decay into matter and antimatter. It's the concentration of energy and mass that produces the copious amounts of antiparticles -- researchers have done this trick before but they'd only tried it with thin sheets of gold and less-intense lasers.
Guess what? Evolution evolves: Princeton scientists looking at a group of proteins that help cells burn energy found something else -- evidence that evolutionary changes don't take place gradually and randomly under pressure from natural selection. In other words, the changes evolution engenders may be more directed than scientists originally thought -- but unlike "intelligent design," the "intelligence" comes from within the organism itself. (Intelligent design believers can stop reading now ... the group says this is not evidence of an exterior intelligence driving evolution; also, it is not evidence that the DNA itself is "thinking.")
What they are proposing is that evolution isn't as random as originally thought. They discovered that their electron transport chain proteins were self-correcting imbalance imposed on them via artifical mutation. A math analysis showed that these proteins were making tiny corrections all the time, pushing the organism to a more fit state.
Are semi makers really software companies?
Opinion: Software is the elephant in the room: Michel Genard thinks that if semiconductor manufacturers reinvented themselves as software-centric companies, they would be able to solve many of their biggest operational problems and to add the differentiating qualities to their individual organizations they will need to stand out in the future of the semi business. Genard says that if you examine semi industry constraints, you'll see that software glitches are the basis of most problems like product delays and budget overruns. Virtual software development could give a semi company a jump on the competition by allowing them to find and eliminate problems before they happen by working with their RTOS partners, long before the silicon is ready. (One product produced this way was the new Freescale QorIQ P4080 multicore processor.)
Heating your home with plasma-vaporized garbage: We've discussed it before -- plasma gassification -- now it seems Florida's St. Lucie County and company Geoplasma are developing the first US plasma gasification plant to vaporize 1,500 tons of trash a day and product 60mW of turbine-spun electricity (50K homes worth of juice). The plasma involved is 10K degrees F (5,500ish C/5,800ish K).
For those without, fast Internet over powerlines
IBM and energy company rethink an old idea: IBM and International Broadband Electric Communications have agreed to have IBM install Broadband over Power Line (BPL) networks at electric cooperatives in the eastern US so IBEC can provide broadband services to underserved residents in rural America.
A step closer to the flying car?
New from the military mad scientist division: Darpa announces the Personal Air Vehicle Technology project, an attempt to build a working prototype of a two-to-four-passenger, military-suitable flying car that can drive on roads or take off like a helicopter. Darpa is shooting for 60/150MPH (land/air) with a flight time of two hours on a single tank. The group figures it'll need "morphing wings" for a smooth transition from road to sky; "optimized disk loading" propulsion (whatever that is); and strong flight control software (a wing and a prayer and a programmer?). At least actor Avery Brooks can relax -- he will probably get that flying car.
| Cell/B.E. Security SDK: Six programming examples||INFObomb|
|A quick look at six programming examples in the Security SDK 3.0.|| ||More INFObombs |
The source code and makefiles for the samples associated with the Cell/B.E. Security SDK are installed into the /opt/cell/sdk/prototype/src/examples/isolation directory. Each of the samples has an associated README file. There is also a top-level README in the src/samples/isolation directory introducing the structure of the sample code source tree. In addition, there are a number of useful PDF documents in the /opt/cell/sdk/docs directory including a programming tutorial.
Code specific to a given Cell/B.E. processor unit type is in a corresponding place within a given sample's directory:
- sample's directory for code compiled for execution on the PPE.
- spu/ subdirectory for code compiled for execution on an SPE.
In this last installment on the Cell/B.E. Security SDK, we'll show where you can find six code examples to demonstrate using the Security SDK:
- Changing the default compiler.
- Synching the system root directory for recompiles (for simulator users).
- Demonstrating how a SPU program can perform file operations.
- Copying encrypted data and using system memory as a secure shared buffer.
- Copying Encrypted Data with Replay Protection.
- Demonstrating a fully encrypted SPU program.
Change the default compiler
In the /opt/cell/sdk/buildutils are some top level makefiles that control the build environment for all of the samples; you'll also find make.iso.footer which controls the build environment for the emulated isolated SPU.
The Cell/B.E. Security SDK samples are built using /opt/cell/sdk/prototype/src/examples/isolation/Makefile; these samples are not built using any makefile present above this directory (except make.iso.footer). All of the samples have their own makefile, but the common definitions are in the top-level makefiles.
The build environment makefiles are documented in /opt/cell/sdk/README_build_env.txt.
Environment variables in the /opt/cell/sdk/buildutils/make.env makefile are used to determine which compiler is used to build the samples.
Synch system root
Building the libraries and samples copies output files into a special directory named /opt/cell/sysroot. This directory has a very similar structure to a normal system root directory (that is, /) and contains the usual subdirectories such as /bin, /usr, and /etc. Compiled binaries of examples are deployed into directory /opt/cell/sysroot/opt/cell/sdk/prototype/usr/bin/examples.
After logging on as root, this sysroot directory can be synched up with the simulator sysroot image file using the install script with the synch task. The command is
/opt/cell/cellsdk_sync_simulator and is useful whenever a library or sample has been recompiled. This script reduces user error by providing a standard mechanism to mount the system root image, sync the contents of the two corresponding directories, and unmounting the system root image.
Perform file I/O
This example demonstrates how an SPU program can perform file operations (like creation, reading, updating, deletion) using either POSIX or C99 functions. It is described in the code for the iso_fileio sample provided as part of the SDK in the directory /opt/cell/sdk/prototype/src/examples/isolation/iso_fileio.
Copy encrypted data
This example demonstrates how to use system memory as a secure shared buffer. The SPU application encrypts a plaintext in LS and copies out the ciphertext to the system memory. It also shows
decrypt_in usage (example) where the SPU application copies the cipher text from the system memory back into the LS and decrypts it. Code for this sample is located under /opt/cell/sdk/prototype/src/examples/isolation/iso_enccopy.
Copy encrypted data (advanced)
Or, copying encrypted data with Replay Protection. This example is a more advanced version of the previous one; it uses the nonce to prevent replay attacks on the data copied out. (Nonce, or number once used, is often a random or pseudo-random number issued in an authentication protocol to ensure that old communications cannot be reused in replay attacks.) Code for this sample is located under directory /opt/cell/sdk/prototype/src/examples/isolation/iso_enccopy2.
Fully encrypted SPU program
This sample demonstrates a fully encrypted SPU program; it uses additional variables in the spu/Makefile:
ISO_ENCRYPT_SEC := ALLISO_KERN_KEY = /etc/pki/cell-spu-isolation/loader/loader.app_encrypt_key.public.pem
ISO_ENCRYPT_SEC specifies which sections of SPU program image to encrypt; it can be set to
.text. The variable
ISO_KERN_KEY specifies the public key to which SPU program image is encrypted.
Code for this sample is located under directory /opt/cell/sdk/prototype/src/examples/isolation/iso_encrypted.
Please note that with the publicly available Security SDK, cryptographic encryption is not being used and thus the key is ignored by the SPE Secure Application build tool which simply XORs the application image with a static value. In the CDA version of the SDK, cryptographic encryption is used and the
ISO_KERN_KEY is used in the process.
Taken from the Cell BE Security SDK v3.0 Installation and User's Guide. Download the SDK. Check out some reference guides in the Cell Resource Center SDK library.
| ORIGINAL DOCUMENTATION | DOWNLOAD SDK | SDK LIBRARY | MORE INFObombs | BACK to BLOG | BACK to ZONE|
... of technology for 2008: Yes, the LANL Roadrunner (see disclaimer for name usage) is number 10 on TIME magazine's "Best Inventions of 2008" list:
On May 26, at 3:30 in the morning, a $133 million supercomputer nicknamed Roadrunner broke the long-sought-after petaflop barrier: 1 quadrillion calculations per second. Built by IBM for Los Alamos National Laboratory, Roadrunner will be used primarily to simulate the effects of aging on nuclear weapons. Next up: the exaflop barrier.
The other nine before LANL Roadrunner:
- The Retail DNA Test.
- The Tesla Roadster.
- The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
- The Large Hadron Collider.
- The Global Seed Vault.
- The Chevy Volt.
- Bullets That Shoot Bullets.
- The Orbital Internet.
LANL Roadrunner takes a Tekne Award
A win for superior computing in Minnesota: IBM-Rochester received a Tekne Award for the LANL Roadrunner supercomputer (see disclaimer for name usage). Specifically, the company won the IT-Software & Hardware, Communications and Infrastructure award for the hybrid that is the first computer to break the petaflop barrier. (A Tekne Award acknowledges companies and individuals who have demonstrated superior technology advancement and leadership in Minnesota. There is no requirement that this superiority has to also manifest itself outside of MN, but it usually does.)
Catching up with LANL Roadrunner?
Is Cray closing in?: Oak Ridge National Labs just tested its newly installed AMD-based Cray XT5 supercomputer ("Jaguar") and it peaked out at 1.64pflops, just under the 1.7pflops peak for the Cell/B.E.-/Opteron hybrid LANL Roadrunner (see disclaimer for name usage), in essence making it the world's fastest computer for (non-military) science research.