Distinguished Technical Author, The Next Platform -- James brings insight from the world of advanced computing following a twenty-year career in what he calls “practical supercomputing”. James supported the amazing teams who annotated multiple genomes at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. James was recently the Assistant Dean and Distinguished Engineer for Research Computing at Harvard. He holds a degree in Chemistry from Manchester University and a doctorate in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford University.
May 15, 2018 James Cuff
Building custom processors and systems to annotate chunks of DNA is not a new phenomenon but given the increasing complexity of genomics as well as explosion in demand, this trend is being revived.
Those that have been around in this area in the last couple of decades will recall that back in 2000, the then Celera Genomics acquired Paracel Genomics (an accelerator and software company) for $250 million who at the time had annual sales of $14.2 million. Paracel had a system they called GeneMatcher, who were able to fit 7,000 processors into a box that could compete with over …Read more
May 8, 2018 James Cuff
Chocolate and peanut butter, tea and scones, gin and tonic, they’re all great combinations, and today we now have a new binary mixture — Quantum and AI. Do they actually mix well together? Quadrant, a new spin out from D-Wave Systems, certainly seems to think so.
D-Wave has been in the quantum computing business since 1999, raising in excess of $200 million from Goldman Sachs, Bezos Expeditions and others, they now list folks such as Google, NASA, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Volkswagen as examples of their signature customers. Quadrant is basically the new AI play from the …Read more
May 4, 2018 James Cuff
It is fair to say that containers in HPC are a big deal. Nothing more clearly shows the critical nature of any technology than watching the community reaction when a new security issue is discovered and released.
In a recent announcement from the team over at Sylabs, they stated that multiple container systems on kernels that do not support PR_SET_NO_NEW_PRIVS were now vulnerable. This was big news, and it obviously spread like a proverbial wildfire through the HPC community, with many mostly voicing their upset that the initial announcement came out at the start of a long holiday weekend …Read more
May 1, 2018 James Cuff
To give hungry customers a high quality, gourmet AI experience new and exotic recipes are being constructed in a race to dream up ever more exciting and tasty concoctions from traditional software and hardware staples.
Over at Intel, AI is clearly the highlight of its current tasting menu. Intel has announced a new set of AI offerings that use associative memory learning and reasoning based on products from Saffron Technology, which Intel carried home from the market back in 2015 for an undisclosed sum.
Saffron adds an integrated software stack to the expanding portfolio of AI hardware, from traditional …Read more
April 26, 2018 James Cuff
At the World Medical Innovation Forum this week, participants were polled with a loaded question: “Do you think healthcare will become better or worse from the use of AI?”
Across the respondents, 98 percent said it would be either “Better” or “Much Better” and not a single one thought it would become “Much Worse.” This is an interesting statistic, and the results were not entirely surprising, especially given that artificial intelligence was the theme for the meeting.
This continual stream of adoption of new technologies in both clinical and post clinical settings is remarkable. Today, healthcare is a technology operation. …Read more
April 20, 2018 James Cuff
Intel has been making some interesting moves in the community space recently, including free licenses for its compiler suite for educators and open source contributors can now be had, as can rotating 90 day licenses for its full System Studio environment for anyone who takes the time to sign up.
In the AI space, Intel recently announced that its nGraph code for managing AI graph APIs has also been opened to the community. After opening it up last month, Intel has been followed up on the initial work on MXNet with further improvements to TensorFlow.
The Next Platform …Read more
April 18, 2018 James Cuff
HPC software evolves continuously. Those now finding themselves on the frontlines of HPC support are having to invent and build new technologies just to keep up with deluge of layers and layers of software on top of software and software is only part of the bigger picture.
We have talked in the past about computational balance and the challenges of unplanned data, these are both real and tangible issues. However, now in addition to all of that, those in support roles living at the sharp end of having to support research are also faced by what is increasingly turning …Read more
April 16, 2018 James Cuff
As humankind continues to stare into the dark abyss of deep space in an eternal quest to understand our origins, new computational tools and technologies are needed at unprecedented scales. Gigantic datasets from advanced high resolution telescopes and huge scientific instrumentation installations are overwhelming classical computational and storage techniques.
This is the key issue with exploring the Universe – it is very, very large. Combining advances in machine learning and high speed data storage are starting to provide hitherto unheard of levels of insight that were previously in the realm of pure science fiction. Using computer systems to infer knowledge …Read more
April 10, 2018 James Cuff
We all remember learning to ride a bike. Those early wobbly moments with “experts” holding on to your seat while you furiously peddled and tugged away at the handlebars trying to find your own balance.
Training wheels were the obvious hardware choice for those unattended and slightly dangerous practice sessions. Training wheel hardware was often installed by your then “expert” in an attempt to avoid your almost inevitable trip to the ER. Eventually one day, often without planning you no longer needed the support, and you could make it all happen on your own.Read more
Today, AI and ML needs this …
April 9, 2018 James Cuff
Hard to believe, but the R programming language has been with us since 1993.
A quarter century has now passed since the authors Gentleman and Ihaka originally conceived the R platform as an implementation of the S programming language.
Continuous global software development has taken the original concepts originally inspired by John Chambers’ Scheme in 1975 to now include parallel computing, bioinformatics, social science and more recently complex AI and deep learning methods. Layers have been built on top of layers and today’s R looks nothing like 1990’s R.
So where are we at, especially with the emerging opportunities …Read more