* Posts by HPCJohn

169 posts • joined 18 Sep 2014


Oh what a cute little animation... OH MY GOD. (Not acceptable, even in the '80s)


Re: Adult floppies...

I shall look at that channel.

In my student days I bought a surplus BT baudot teleprinter for a fiver (or maybe a tenner). TI took two people to lift the thing. IT still had the hotel code for where it was originally stationed wired on, so would print this.

I connected it up as a printer to my TRS-80. Wish I still had it but it was huge and was binned at some point.

Never printed smut on it!

IBM job ad calls for 12 years’ experience with Kubernetes – which is six years old


Re: Switching on the "monitor stand"

I remember downlaoding stuff from wsmr - White Sands Missile Range - in the early days.

I though tit quite daring to log onot a military site and download files. If I'm not wrong that was an FTP site. might have been Gopher also.

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds


Re: Switching on the "monitor stand"

Back in the days of CRT monitors in offices I Was once warned against Christmas tinsel bedecking monitors.

Something about static charge being gathered by metallic tinsel.

I was also given the line that CRT monitors give you spots. The screen does get charged, which produces an image charge on your face which attracts dirt.

SO spotty IT nerds may not be that much of a cliche.

Swedish data centre offers rack-scale dielectric immersion cooling


Energy use

Having worked for a company which has liquid cooled servers, a lot of the energy use in a data centre is due to the small whing fans inside servers.

SO going for Opencompute with fanless servers and large fans in the rear is a plus already.

Then go for water cooled rear doors.


Re: With 500MW

It is in the Nordics. They probably have existing hydro electric capacity next door.

For the UK, I have often said that why is there not a green data centre in Kinlochleven?

There was a hydeoelectric plant there for an aluminium smelter.


I guess the hydro plant may no longer be active, and not worth reviving.

Danger zone! Brit research supercomputer ARCHER's login nodes exploited in cyber-attack, admins reset passwords and SSH keys


Re: SSH keys & the coming apocalypse

Oh DO come on... You want security?

PBS used to use rhosts trusts in the old days.


Re: how i'd do it

Quite often when you first log into an HPC system a script is triggered which generates a passwordless key pair, for use within that system. So yes, you have separate keys.


I would rather glibly say munge https://github.com/dun/munge

I guess though if an attacker gets root then all bets are off.

If you don't LARP, you'll cry: Armed fun police swoop to disarm knight-errant spotted patrolling Welsh parkland


Re: WTF ?!!


These tragic deaths are in the UK.

'Lightweight' UPS-style flywheels to power naval laser zappers


F1 KERS flywheels

Williams F1 developed a flywheel for KERS energy storage. This is tightly wound carbon fibre filaments. It is lightweight and spins extremely fast.

There is a danger when flywheels fail, I gather the carbon fibre one is safer than most as it explodes into carbon fibre particles (which probably should not be breated in).

That flywheel was said to be being commericalised - I wonder of the Navy are using that technology?


A new Raspberry Pi takes a bow with all of the speed but less of the RAM


USB-C port

I love the USB-C standard, and have it on my laptop.

Thoughts on why USB-C is not on Rasp PI? I guess that having a separate HDMI output is no big consumer os space, and it allows hobbyists and schoolchildren to hook up a cheal HDMI Cable to a standard television. With a USB-C port you would need a separate hub to fan out to HDMI, stanrard USB for keyboard and mouse, and for ethernet. Which would cost more than the Rasp PI

Also I guess USB-C chipsets aren't integrated with the SoCs used on Rasp Pi.


Julia 0.7 arrives but let's call it 1.0: Data science code language hits milestone on birthday



Loading 100GB of data and analysing 100 years worth of climate data


Achieved anything?

I am sitting in a talk right now where a researcher is analyzin biodiversity around the world.

OR how about the production risk model at a major insurance company?

Or using ulia to model pharmacokinetics?


Re: Indices...

Joe W, you have it exactly. You can change to using Julia for every one of those use cases, except LabView probably.

Give it a try - but at the Reg says use 0.7 for the moment. You may end up liking it!


Re: Gaston Julia

The discussion on naming Julia comes around n the Julia discourse regularly.

It is not named after anything in particular.

Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep



Those keyboard did make a racket though when you were typing.



Wow. That brings back memories.

As a graduate student in high energy physics, I got my very own 3270 terminal, connected to the mainframe downstairs by twinax cables.

Best keyboard I have ever had.

Many joyful days running virtual machines under CMS. I remember the REIPL CMS command to reboot (Initial Program Load). It probably would all come back if I got a 3270 in front of me!

In later days I got a FALCO terminal at CERN. VT220 emulation, plus a hotkey to Tektronix graphics emulation. I used a 3270 emulator on DEC VMS to access the mainframes there.

Boss helped sysadmin take down horrible client with swift kick to the nether regions


Geat column

Great column and some great stories. Brightened up my Fridays as beer o'clock approaches.

Architects? Power-hungry GPU fiends? HP has something for you


Re: desktops in a rack?

You cram them in a rack because they will likely to be accessed remotely.

OK, these ones are said to be quiet. But powerful workstations, as the article says, are noisy and produce heat.

So you use Teradici PCOIP terminals or Citrix to access them


These guys are good at this, and I have worked with them.

Advantages are:

Low power, silent terminal on your desktop, can be on the back of your monitor.

Secure encryption for spooky sites.

Workstations are secure in the data centre, your data never leaves there.

Workstations are on a fast network near the data.

If a workstation fails, you just connect another one in the rack up to the desktop, No crawlin about under desks ad the engineer gets up and running faster.

Boffins mix AI and chemicals to create super-fast lab assistant


Things I wont Work With

Fantastic blog from an experienced chemist:


What if the AI is stupid enough to try brewing up FOOF for instance?


In the blog Derek describes compounds so reactive that if they go on fire and you throw the sand bucket on them.. the sand catches fire...

I'm no chemist, but I have seen notices in chemistry departments about compunds which smell so bad you have to notify people. What if the AI fancied a little batch of one of them?

Shouting lager, lager... Carlsberg's beer AI can now tell pilsners apart


Carlsberg IPA

Living in Copenhagen, I can say that the Carlsberg Brewmasters IPA is not half bad.

thinking of that, I might have a tin or two watching the sun go down over the harbour this evening.

I prefer Jacobsen Brown Ale actually, which I find very good. Burp.

EU plans for domestic exascale supercomputer chips: A RISC-y business


David, I believe the target for a realistic Exascale machine is 30MW - not as in target to get above 30, but to get below.

Yes indeed, having worked for several HPC integrators the running costs are just as important as the hardware. So any innovative schemes to improve the PUE, or indeed to reduce the power per transistor switch cycle, are of interest.


Re: Why is Europe fixated on low power?

None of these designs are low power because at the end of the day a transistor is a transistor.

Well said. There is work going into the power consumption per instructions 'picowatts per flop'.

I saw one commen tthat the advent of GPU computing taught a generation that double precision floating point is not needed for everything. I think there will be more effort put into choosing the appropriate precision for calculations, saving power by making the actual algorithms more power aware.

Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again


Re: We had the CO2 equivalent

In the Oxford Supercomputer centre they have a similar system. An inert gas is used to keep the oxygen content in the server room below the point at which ignition will occur, but you can still breathe.

Very sensible safety precautions there are never to work alone.

I do recall feeling a bit woozy after being in the server room for a few hours though.

'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey


Re: Hyperoptic

Thanks AC. I have installed and configured my fair share of 48 port switches, most recently Mellanox 10Gbps switches.

The cabinet looks like a standard wall mount comms cabinet to me, and as it is mounted high up I have never really been curious enough to go poking in it. 200 CAt5 cables is quite bulky. I guess I only need to count the cables coming out of the box.


Re: Hyperoptic

There is a standard sized wall-mounted cabinet in the basement. I have never had a close look at what is in there.

The babinet is about 10U high, so you are right it probably does not have a whopping big enterprise router in there.

Actually the cabinet is in the underground car park and cables go off up the cable risers to each floor. I would say you are correct, and there must be some small switch in each riser, so each set of apartments is connected to a leaf switch.



The apartment building wher eI live has Hyperoptic as the provider. Blooming marvellous, compared to the awful ADSL service which went before, and would stop working on hot days. Far too many connections multiplexed onto Docklands infrastrucure which went all the way back to the Bermondsey exchange. I saw the excuse was that in the Docks era all the warehouses had alarm lines via telephone. These could not have junction boxes in the streets, as the crims would bypass the alarm.

Anyway - Hyperoptic runs a fat fibre connection to the basement of the building. Every flat gets a Ct5 cable back to the router in the basement. Works great and I was able to stream the 4K test signal from the BBC.

Azure Dev Spaces has hit public preview, so El Reg took it for a spin


Re: Docker for Windows - bit of a fail

Thanks Stephan. I have been using Virtualbox for years and am a big fan.

I will give it a spin.

I see now what the problem is - Windows 10 Home will not allow the installation of HyperV. Ho hum.


Re: Docker for Windows - bit of a fail

Sorry, but I paid nigh on 2000 quid for a high end laptop, which I love. HP Spectre.

I can boot it into Linux and do all the development work I want.

I paid Micorosft for windows 10 Home, which I actually quite like. But I want to run some Docker containers? Oooh noo mate... shell out some more cash.


Docker for Windows - bit of a fail

IF anyone from Microsoft reads this, you are not encouraging anyone to dabble in Docker with Windows. Not relvant to Dev Spaces of course.

You will find that on downloading Docker for Windows it wil lnto run with Windows 10 Home edition. It needs the Professional Edition.

That is not a great way to encourage anyone to try Docker out.

Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything


Passwords are outdated

I think this really flags up that passwords are an outdated concept. Mock as much as you like abotu writing passwords down, but why in the 21st Century are we relying on a series of characters pressed out on what is quaintly known as a 'keyboard'.

I don't have the solution myself, however I rather do like Microsoft Hello and facial recognition.

I realise there will be many responses saying 'this is not secure enough'

For centuries, people have placed great store in physical keys. You can still see keys for ancient castle doors for instance, so we have a cultural appreciation of keys.

I really dont see why more companies dont use smartcards for authentication. You normally have a smartcard on a lanyard, and this is used to open doors within the building.

OK, for the home user and e-commerce sites you wont have a company smartcard. But increasingly we see two factor authentication using a one-time code sent to a mobile phone.

Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button


Re: Kim or Ken?

ArrZarr, do some Googling on Chernobyl. It is the opposite with the water. The RBMK reactor has a positive void coefficient. When the water boiled and steam bubbles appeared this caused an INCREASE in power output from the reactor. I also dont believe that the operators added any more water - indeed how can you add more water in what is highly likely to be a closed loop system.

'Plane Hacker' Roberts: I put a network sniffer on my truck to see what it was sharing. Holy crap!


Re: So... who pays for the 3G/4G data connection?

Amazon Kindle - the network is known as Whispernet.

Europe's scheme to build exascale capability on homegrown hardware is ludicrous fantasy


Louis, ASML of course. I worked with them last year on their HPC cluster.

HPC being used to design the next generation of machines.


Re: Whatever ever happened to....

The interconnect for the Transputer ended up being the Quadrics high speed interconnect.

Have worked with some of those guys, whi are still working in HPC.


Re: Remind me again why...

AC, you have a point. However, in order to 'push the envelope' and create a new class of machines you do need centrally funded research. You then find the advancements trickle down to the systems which industry uses and pays for.


No European makers of disk or solid-state drives of significance. The same is true for interconnect technology.

Welllllll.. Israel is in the European Song Contest.

So I think Mellanox gets in there too...


Chris, clearly you have been at ISC and the article starts well.

But think of this like an Apollo Moonshot program. When Kennedy announced that the US would land men on the moon before the end of the decade.. well NASA did not have Saturn 5 rockets sitting in a big shed somewhere....

Europe should be pushing the envelope, and constructing an exascale system. We already have outstanding centres in Germany, in Barcelona, and in Switzerland.

The UK of course has EPCC, Daresbury and RAL labs, Met Office

(I would say ECMWF but they're off to Italy) Plus the ARM based Isambard project in Bristol.

I do get your points about the lack of CPU foundries and DRAM foundries in Europe.

but the chips themselves don't have to be made in European territory.

Remember the titanium for the SR-71 was purchased from the Russkies!

I fully think that Europe can bring new ideas to Exascale. Both in hardware and importantly in the software.

And Exascale is power hungry. Maybe we should be looking at locating this thing somewhere near a green energy resource too.

USB-C for Surface owners arrives in form of a massive dongle


Re: I don't get it

Phil, USB-C handles not only the serial signalling. It handles power input, with various power profiles for different devices.


10 Gbps Ethernet

HDMI graphics up to 4K AFAIK


So you can have a lightweight laptop which plugs into an external full feature GPU (or indeed any other PCI Express card)


Re: Eh?

Lusty, I agree. If you need a USB storage drive they have USB-C connectors now, and if I am not wrong some models have both that and normal USB.

If you need to use normal USB peripherals buy a USB-C hub which is the size of a packet of chewing gum. My Hperdrive adapter is for all intents and pusrposes a desktop docking station, which you can happily carry with you in the laptop case.


Dogs danglies

I dont have a Surface. I do have an HP Spectre though and USB-C is the dog's dangly bits.

HP Spectre also usefully has a normal USB-3 connector on the other side, with charge on sleep.

So you can charge your phone, or use a USB powered peripheral from the 'normal' USB port.

I can laso say that the Hyperdrive adapter I have is lovely. USB-C to the laptop. Then you get an HDMI graphics port out, two USBs and a USB-C charging port.

Lazy parent Intel dumps Lustre assets on HPC storage bods DDN


Korev, I agree. I was a bit hesitant to say Gridengine there.

But the Univa variety is strongly being developed. I guess that is not Open Source.

I ike SLurm actually.


Re: DDN - maybe a good place for Lustre

Indeed. The dual support model is becoming more common.

Look at PBSPro - they opensourced, and have a dual model of

*) you can't justify paying for support or you do not want to? Fine! Use the open source and you will help to keep the community on a wide base and help with enthusiasm on mailing lists (etc)

*) You want a supported product? Well here you are. And here's a number to call when you need us.

Look at Redhat / CentOS also. I don't think that Redhat have lost much if any revenue with CentOS. They have kept many big name institutes 'in the fold' so to speak, whi were never going to spring for thousands of RHEL or Redhat Desktop licenses.


> and, at least, this tech. wasn't shelved.

And that's why Open Source.

OK, this deal was for DDN to acquire personnel with skills and maintenance contracts.

But in general having Open Source means that a project can be revived if someone thinks the effort justifies it.

I would also mention Gridengine here.

Mellanox flushes three directors at behest of activist investor


ps. I'm no financial expert but I always though Mellanox did pretty well in the market.

Their products are good and thats why people buy them.


I have installed and configured Mellanox kit for many years. Excellent company and good guys, both on the sales side and the technical support side.

I really, really hope whitepines is wrong. Todays high performance networking gear thrives on openness. On the Infiniband side Mellanox make improvements to their OFED stack which are available on their website but which also filter down to the OFED components which the Linus distributions use.

Um, excuse me. Do you have clearance to patch that MRI scanner?


Re: obvious solution ...

AC, I completely agree. This is a stupid proposal.


Re: obvious solution ...

Smooth Newt - are you serious? A huge amount of effort has gone on over the years in networking scanning equipment such as this. They use a standard called DICOM


How would you propose to do this? Writing DICOM studies to removeable media then a radiographer puts the media in another terminal and reads it in to the PACS system?

What a waste of time and sheer drudgery for someone. Hopefully in your scheme the tags for the patient ID etc. are automatically read in.. rekeying anything like that is an invitation to a mixup.

Also what removeable media? I don't know the lifetime of MRI scanners these days I must admit.

When I worked in PET scanning we archived to DAT tapes and gave patients a copy of the scans on Sony Magneto Optical disks. That was many years ago, but I doubt you would be able to get a reader fro these MO disks today.

What's all the C Plus Fuss? Bjarne Stroustrup warns of dangerous future plans for his C++


Re: C and C-style C++


Plesae have a look at Julia. The "two languages" problem you describe is exactly what Julia is designed to overcome. Code in a modern language, with a REPL and Juyputer notebooks. Runs comparably fast as C.


HPE pulls sheets off largest Arm-based supercomputer Astra


Re: What is the connectivity between these Apollo compute nodes??

The HP product page says Mellanox ConnectX-5




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