Saturday, January 31, 2009

Open Proposals (Part I)

The team in charge of the infrastructure management should be something else: The department should be an applied Laboratory to develop and test softwares and where there is real transference of technology to society and centers under open source licenses. A place where learning, experimenting and taking care of the people that run the service is the most important.

Therefore and as the Basque Government has done in other centers, firstly is very important to find a leader that faced both research and industry technology transference and with deep knowledge of HPC. Somebody honest and willing to cooperate in a Team where his/her name is the last thing to appear.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Learning from Others (Part II)

Most public HPC centers would offer free computational resources to research institutions: this makes sense as a way of concentrating the expenses that unlinked small and replicated computing resources across universities make. It is a good way of sharing resources efficiently. Makes sense.

Private sector can also join; but paying per storage and cpu-usage. And that has no sense for the national companies: they pay taxes and have to pay for using the national computing resources as well. And their impact in local economy can be equally compared to the impact that research has for the national scientific community.

They have to pay twice and usually HPC centers can not guarantee a top-class security of their industrial data or a 24x7 operations.

Once more, public managers should review its policies and be a real impulse to our industry -and stop making marketing with fake headlines.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Maths: A Head To Drive It All

Maths are the key core of Industry and therefore HPC. The Basque Center for Applied Mathematics has been created in 2008 and is directed by prestigious Enrique Zuazua:

"The scientific program is structured in several research areas covering various fields of Applied Mathematics: Partial Differential Equations and Control Theory, Multiphysics Numerical Simulations, Mathematical Biology, the Calculus of Variations and Material Sciences, Financial Mathematics and the Modelling and Mathematical Analysis of Networks, among others. The scientific policiy of the center is agreed with an international Scientific Committee."

Therefore the center has its own resources -presently 32 Quad Core nodes as seen here. It is vital for their research and what is more, it is a center focused on supporting industry. BCAM will have an evolving computing infrastructure and electricity bill to pay and will need more staff to support the infrastructure and provide world-class computing services to its key core research.

A unified center for the Basque area could add the separate effords and bills of this and other research centers in the Basque building an energy efficient and strongly secured center focusing its activity on Industry in which the Basque Region is one of the most powerful regions in Europe. It is time to think what to do.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Industries To Benefit (Part I)

Silverspace Animation Studios is a very small computer animation studios based in Vitoria-Gasteiz´s technological park. They have written and develop a short, called "Perpetuum Mobile" that has been selected to be nominated to the Oscars; they will know if they finally are the next 22nd of January 2009.

After listening to a speech given by one of its founders, Enrique Garcia, it is clear that Silverspace as a company needs a lot of computing power and electricity to be able to render -in competence with other studios like Pixar- enough and getting as much quality as possible. As himself explains they had to reduce timing as their rendering server was always full to edit the 10 minutes short.

The infrastructure provided by a public funded entity could support and enhance its activity and would be vital for their industrial activity and for the development of a fostering computer animation industry in the region. Companies could benefit from lower costs of electricity and hardware and could make use of powerful, secured and professionally managed infrastructure to develop industrial projects in an area like animation. I am pretty sure that Silverspace would thank a reduction in the electricty bill if they want to grow-up and more people to manage a probably growin IT infrastructure. Specially now, that they probably have a reduced staff team, and that after the nomination will probably have to increase.

The Basque Region has another reason to manage a computing center, not only to serve science, but also provide secure computing force, safely and supporting vital industrial projects. It is the future.

All the best of luck to Silverspace!