Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Midlife Crunch

I recently saw a clip from the City Slickers movie about the midlife crisis. Ready to start my 30s, this was a friendly reminder about how to spend our valuable time. Here it is:

Value this time in your life kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you're a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, "What happened to my twenties?" Your forties, you grow a little pot belly you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Your fifties you have a minor surgery. You'll call it a procedure, but it's a surgery. Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it doesn't matter because you can't hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering "how come the kids don't call?" By your eighties, you've had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can't stand but who you call mama. Any questions?


Billy Crystal as Mitch Robbins

Here is the video:



Sunday, May 18, 2014

BSC's MareNostrum (2013)

Recently i visited Barcelona Supercomputing Center and UPC for the Computing Systems Week and the Block Review of Euroserver project.

During my visit, I had the opportunity to visit the MareNostrum supercomputer. MareNostrum is a supercomputer in the Barcelona Supercomputing Center initially build in 2004. The initial setup was containing around 3564 cores based on BM 64-bit PowerPC 970MP processors running at 2.3 GHz. In November 2006 its capacity was increased due to the large demand of scientific projects. MareNostrum increased the calculation capacity until reaching 94.21 Teraflops. The system was based on 2560 JS21 blade computing nodes, based on the same processor for 10,240 CPUs in total. The machine is using Myrinet interconnect for communication.

In 2013 MareNostrum upgraded and changed the CPU architecture. With the last upgrade, MareNostrum has a peak performance of 1,1 Petaflops, with 48896 Intel Sandy Bridge processors in 3056 nodes, and 84 Xeon Phi 5110P in 42 nodes, with more than 100.8 TB of main memory and 2 PB of GPFS disk storage. At  May 2014, MareNostrum was positioned at the 34th place in the TOP500 list of fastest supercomputers in the world. The machine provides 925.1 usable TFlops and consumes 1016 kW of electrical power.

The beauty of the machine is not because of the computation power or the efficiency of power consumption, but because it is located inside a chapel! Here are some pictures from inside:


Computation Node based on Intel processors.
Computation Node based on Intel processors.

Power and cooling distribution.
Power and cooling distribution.

View from the top of the Supercomputer.
View from the top of the Supercomputer.

View from the side. Orange and yellow cables are Myrinet optical links, blue cables are management GBit ethernet.
View from the side. Orange and yellow cables are Myrinet optical links, blue cables are management GBit ethernet.

View from the top.

View of Barcelona Supercomputer from the top. Note the cooling pumps at the end.
View of Barcelona Supercomputer from the top. Note the cooling pumps at the end.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ph.D era is officially over

Three and half years have passed since i left Greece. Couple of months ago i decided to accept an offer in a small company (OnApp) that provides tools to manage virtual machines. Today i received emails regarding me pending email account deletion from my previous work ( IBM Canada and Barcelona Supercomputing Center). I felt strange. A mix of feelings, but mostly nostalgia.

Although, last two years were not the best in my life, i will really miss Barcelona and Toronto. I rediscovered myself in these places. I will miss the traveling, the excitement for walking on new grounds, discovering new places and new people. I will never forget, the fear of traveling to Canada, the disappointment and the problems of searching temporary room only for three months, in north of Toronto (Markham).  And then the coming back in Barcelona. Europe with a small taste of mediterranean life. From about 10 people i was collaborating, four already are in a different company and in a different project.

Waiting for the bus to arrive while snowing. Somewhere in Toronto (Thornhill, Vaughan, ON, Canada) in 2010.
Waiting for the bus to arrive while snowing. Somewhere in Toronto (Thornhill, Vaughan, ON, Canada) in 2010.

Sounds strange, but i miss some moments from my phd-student life... the countless hours trying to solve some bugs, write papers, and be able to run my experiments. On the other side, i feel a relief. It is not possible any more to run experiments or to receive emails with customer's bugs.

Ok enough with the thinking, back to reality. I have to... say goodbye to my old labmates.