Indiana University has established the Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies (CREST)—a research hub charged with developing breakthrough technologies that address challenges created by the ever-increasing volume of digital scientific research data. The university celebrated the center's opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at IU Bloomington's Wrubel Computing Center today (Nov. 10).
Brad Wheeler

Limitations imposed by existing approaches to large-scale data analysis and computation stand in the way of new discoveries in major areas of science and engineering. CREST will work to change that by developing a computational ecosystem that performs successfully at exascale (one quintillion calculations per second) on complex time-varying data structures.

"CREST's transformative approach to large-scale, data-driven computing can greatly benefit the scientific community," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and CIO. "Professor Sterling and Lumsdaine's excellent track records in leading federal grants and their sharp focus on game-changing computing architectures spell great promise for high impact outcomes for the growing scale of modern science."

IU recruited Andrew Lumsdaine and Thomas Sterling—two of the international supercomputing community's foremost thinkers—to run the center as director and co-director, respectively. Lumsdaine is currently the director of the Open Systems Lab at IU's Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI), while Sterling is best known as the "father of Beowulf" for his pioneering research in commodity/Linux cluster computing. In fall 2011, Sterling came to IU from Louisiana State University, where he was a leader in the development of the ParalleX exascale execution model and HPX high performance computing runtime system.

Andrew Lumsdaine

Andrew Lumsdaine

Beth Plale, managing director of PTI, said, "Memory-intensive, data-driven fields like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and genomics already use supercomputer-scale resources. Andrew and Thomas give CREST superior leadership and expertise to revolutionize computing at this scale, further cementing IU as a recognized leader of innovative infrastructure that responds dynamically to rapid data growth at exascale speed."

The Human Genome Project, Facebook, and Google are just a few of the well-known applications currently using large-scale, data-driven computing.

"This is a special time," said Lumsdaine. "We are at a tipping point not only in terms of the amount of data being generated and the importance of it, but also the computational challenges that we face to make best use of it."

Thomas Sterling

Thomas Sterling

Sterling added, "Having a wealth of information at our fingertips has changed the way we live, work, and learn. By establishing CREST, Indiana University ensures that innovative advancements in science, engineering, and technology will continue to enhance our lives and improve our futures."

Avago Technologies announced that it is showcasing parallel optical fiber technology that enables industry-leading bandwidth for emerging high-performance computing (HPC) applications here at the SC11 supercomputing conference. Avago is demonstrating its small-footprint MicroPOD and MiniPOD embedded parallel optical transmitter and receiver modules, which deliver bandwidth of up to 120 Gigabits per second (Gbps), working with technologies from companies that provide the data throughput required for cloud computing and virtual server applications.

A live joint-demonstration with PLX Technology shows the industry's first PCI Express (PCIe) Gen3 end-to-end fiber optic link with Avago MiniPOD technology connecting a PC to an I/O expansion box. A separate mechanical sample shows Altera's optical FPGA concept working in conjunction with Avago MicroPOD technology. Avago is highlighting the demonstration, mechanical sample and exhibiting its broad portfolio of industry-standard pluggable modules, at booth 5315 at SC11 at the Washington State Convention Center from November 14-17.

"Avago is committed to working with innovative technology companies such as PLX and Altera to extend fiber optic connectivity box-to-box, board-to-board and eventually chip-to-chip," said Victor Krutul, director of marketing for the Fiber Optics Products Division at Avago. "The unrivaled bandwidth and interconnect density of our embedded parallel optical modules will empower high-performance computing applications to enable the future of cloud computing and virtual servers."

The PCIe demo shows MiniPOD technology, enabled by PLX PEX8748 PCIe Gen3 switches, extending box-to-box traffic up to 30 meters with full 64-Gbps bidirectional connectivity. Optical PCIe provides a superior solution for data centers by eliminating the complicated, latency-ridden conversion of standards, extending the reach of PCIe technology.

"Our work with Avago is bringing the premium performance of optical solutions to PCIe Gen3 applications," said Reggie Conley, senior director, hardware applications, PLX. "Our joint PCIe Gen3 technology is providing maximum throughput with plug-and-play simplicity for next-generation data centers."

The Altera optical FPGA concept targets applications such as HPC, distributed server clusters, multi-chassis network switches and routers, and high-speed backplanes. The technology combines the advantages of programmable logic, advanced SERDES and high-density optical modules to increase signal integrity and optical port density, as well as reduce PCB area and power consumption.

MicroPOD and MiniPOD Embedded Parallel Optics -- World's Highest Bandwidth Interconnects

Avago embedded parallel optics offer industry-leading density and bandwidth. The optical modules enable flexible inside-the-box designs, eliminating the need for EMI/RFI shielding. These benefits are leveraged in applications such as next-generation supercomputers powering scientific research breakthroughs, as well as for high-performance routers, switches and other data center equipment enabling cloud computing, server virtualization and video-on-demand.

The Avago MicroPOD and MiniPOD embedded parallel optical modules offer 12 transmit or receive channels at up to 10.3125 Gbps, while consuming only 125 mW per channel. MicroPOD devices have an 8.2-mm by 7.8-mm footprint with an LGA electrical interface for ultra-dense embedded solutions, while the MiniPOD arrays have a 22-mm by 18.5-mm footprint with a 9-mm by 9-mm MegArray connector for simplified embedded solutions and ease of manufacturing.

CHAMPAIGN, IL -- The National Center for Supercomputing (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and the UIUC College of Engineering will join Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) and five other leading research institutions in the Gelato Federation, a worldwide consortium focused on enabling open source Linux-based Intel® Itanium™ Processor Family computing solutions for academic, government and industrial research.

BCC Group International has developed a solution called CALCNODE that transparently calculates complex Microsoft Excel workbooks on high-performance servers, with Solace's high-speed middleware appliances enabling the real-time flow of data between user desktops and the HPC environment. Centralizing computation gives financial institutions confidence and assured compliance while accelerating performance and maintaining a familiar interface experience for end-users.

By combining Solace's ultra-high performance messaging appliance with BCC's innovative software and market data expertise, the solution feeds any mix of third-party market data into custom calculation and compliance models, dramatically increasing their performance. Each spreadsheet connected to CALCNODE can handle more than 2,500 contributions per second. The CALCNODE back-end service can process 400,000 contributions per second across all users while limiting access to authorized parties and logging all calculations and changes for compliance purposes.

"Performance is always top of mind for most capital markets organizations, but compliance is becoming critical as regulation increases," said Dave Clare, regional vice president, EMEA at Solace Systems. "Through our partnership BCC Group is able to offer the best of both worlds to people who use Excel for business critical calculations that need to execute as fast as possible."

CALCNODE is an official Thomson Reuters Partner Solution Program product and can be found on the Reuters application directory on

"We are very excited to leverage the performance of Solace's messaging appliance to take Microsoft Excel performance way beyond what was previously possible," said Mauricio Gonzalez Evans, CEO at BCC Group, "Capital markets organisations will no longer need to recreate Excel spreadsheets as coded applications to achieve speed and compliance."