Browsed by
Month: September 2011

CU Janus Supercomputer

CU Janus Supercomputer

Last night I had the opportunity to tour the supercomputer recently built here at CU named “Janus” that I’ve been using. It is a 16,000-core Dell cluster using 6-core Intel processors running RedHat Linux. It was built in an interesting way. Instead of building a machine room in a building and then filling it with cooling ducts, pipes, and power connections, the machine room is made up of standard shipping containers that had all those connections in place, similar to a pre-fab house. These were shipped from the factory (in Canada, I think) on trucks, and then dropped next to each other in a parking lot behind a campus building. Unfortunately, because it was nighttime, I don’t have a good picture of the outside, but the link above has a good picture of it.

Below are some pictures I took of Janus.

The machine racks. The door encloses the 'hot' side of the machines, where the air is sucked to the heat exchangers.
The machine racks. The door encloses the ‘hot’ side of the machines, where the air is sucked to the heat exchangers.
The cooling system.
The cooling system.
The blinky and hot end of the machines. Lots of wires!
The blinky and hot end of the machines. Lots of wires!
A close up of the back of a compute node. Notice that they have serial ports, which are based on a 40+ year old standard. At least they have USB ports, too.
A close up of the back of a compute node. Notice that they have serial ports, which are based on a 40+ year old standard. At least they have USB ports, too.
It was using 415 kW of power. I think it can go much higher than that when the machine is under heavy load on a hot day.
It was using 415 kW of power. I think it can go much higher than that when the machine is under heavy load on a hot day.
A Couple Pics

A Couple Pics

I took this photo yesterday looking down above Jamestown. I took it with the HDR mode of my iPhone, and you can clearly see I did not keep the camera steady. Still, I think it’s a cool picture, and the ghosting on the ridges is kind of interesting.

AboveJamestown

I’ve decided to modify how we back up our lappies at home. Instead of using SuperDuper! to back them up to individual external drives, I’m now backing them up to the Drobo using the sparsebundle backup mode of SuperDuper! over the network. This actually effectively doubles the number of backups for each lappy, but centralizes them for efficiency. As you can see below, I’ve brought the hard drives to school, where I’ve turned them into a striped RAID 500GB array. Making them striped (as opposed to concatenated JBOD) increases the IO speed by roughly 30% over the standard case. Copying a 3.5GB file to any of them individually (or together in JBOD mode) takes about 120 seconds, but as a striped RAID it takes 80 seconds. 500GB isn’t big by today’s standards, a 2TB disk costs less than $100, but I already had these disks, so it’s effectively free. So, why not?

mRAID

A Curtain of Rain

A Curtain of Rain

IMG_0447

Heading west on my ride yesterday I saw this curtain of rain falling in the distance. As it happened, I was riding west and I did get rained on by this front a few minutes after taking this picture. It wasn’t too bad, just enough to get my legs dirty from spray off my front wheel, mostly.

Paper beats Rock, Bears beat Buffs

Paper beats Rock, Bears beat Buffs

IMG_0445

A few days ago, on Saturday September 10, I attended the collegiate American football match between the University of California Golden Bears and the University of Colorado Buffaloes. Although we’ve lived in Boulder for over a year, and I work in the football stadium, this was the first Buffs game I have attended.

The game was an exciting one. The Bears led for most of the game, but the Buffs tied the game in the last minute of regulation, sending the game into overtime. Quite surprisingly, the Bears managed to win in overtime, something that as a True Blue, I am not used to seeing from my Bears.

This is the first season where the Buffs are a member of the Pac-12. I think they are not quite up to the standards of the Pac-12. Here are some of my observations from the game.

  • The security getting into the game was a perfect example of security theater. They patted people down in a very cursory way searching for who-knows-what. Once inside the stadium, I didn’t see security officers in the stadium at all until the end of the game. In the closing moments they were positioned in front of the student section in a weak attempt to prevent the students from rushing the field. How are 20 people in yellow jackets going to stop 4,000 drunk undergraduates? In the end, because the Buffs lost, the students stayed put.
  • Note to self: For the next game I attend, I’m putting all kinds of goodies in my office the day before the game. No one seemed to notice when I went inside to get my water bottle this time (to avoid paying $3.75 (!) at the concessions for water), so I figure I can store even more stuff.
  • The stadium feels a bit dated, kind of like Memorial was before reconstruction. The isles are tight and the access gates are narrow. The loudspeakers are located at one end of the stadium, meaning that they have to be extra loud to reach the other end. The head referee’s microphone didn’t work, so we had to guess what penalties were or catch the hand signals (which was difficult because he faced the other way during announcements). However, the views of the front range and flatirons are supreme.
  • I noticed several times during the game that the PA people are, frankly, rude. I always thought that music is required to be turned off during plays, but the PA people would let it continue into the beginning of plays. Also, at least once when the Cal Band started to play after a Cal score, the PA played music over them. It’s one thing to play over the 183rd playing of “Tribute to Troy” when playing U$C, but it’s unacceptable to play over the Cal Band.

The only cool thing about CU is the running of the buffalo, Ralphie. I think there should be the running of the bear. How about a 800-lb grizzly bear running across the pitch at Memorial Stadium?

Bookmarks for August 14th through September 9th

Bookmarks for August 14th through September 9th

These are my links for August 14th through September 9th: