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UK Universities Launch Cloud Supercomputer For Hire

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the take-it-to-the-coud dept.

Education 25

judgecorp writes "Cambridge University and Imperial College London have combined forces to make a cloud-based supercomputer service. Supercomputers have traditionally not been shared this way, but CORE — the biggest Intel-based HPC system in the UK, and in the top 100 supercomputers in the world — will be available on a pay-per-use basis by industry, small businesses and other academic bodies."

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Cost? (2)

AaxelB (1034884) | about 2 years ago | (#40516357)

So... how much are they charging?

Re:Cost? (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | about 2 years ago | (#40516431)

10k processor hours are free*

[fineprint]*) special free starter package, only first time users, application needed[/fineprint]

Re:Cost? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516529)

Both arms, both legs, and your first born.

We need communism now! (-1, Flamebait)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#40516397)

Down with the monarchy! For a workers government! For a Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard party!

Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516413)

Now the pricing for cracking passwords will go down.

Re:Good (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 2 years ago | (#40516477)

Botnets don't require you pay anything if you are the owner. This is certainly more expensive than renting botnet time.

Re:Good (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 2 years ago | (#40517403)

Botnets are for rent as well. It's only natural that you can also legally rent computational power.

Business oppertunity (2)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 2 years ago | (#40516453)

I wonder if this thing will make Bitcoins at a greater rate than they charge? Capitalism in it's purist form!

Re:Business oppertunity (3, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40516481)

No. If it does, the price of bit coins will fall to match. Actually, from historical performance of the bit coin market, the price of bit coins would probably fall to BELOW what it costs to make them. Capitalism in it's purest form.

Re:Business oppertunity (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#40516633)

It is purist form indeed. :3

Re:Business oppertunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518249)

Not a hope. Bitcoin mining is already mainly done by custom-built low-cost FPGA hardware, and in a few months will possibly switch over to custom ASIC's, that is completely custom silicon developed for the task, if the promised ASIC hardware Butterfly Labs is developing actually is shipped.

This [] post gives a good overview of how much more efficient the custom built hardware is compared to off-the-shelf computers, and even FPGA farms.

VS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516469)

Score! Now I'll finally be able to run the Visual Studio GUI with decent performance.

How is this (4, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#40516555)

How is this any different from renting time on other supercomputer systems? Is it special because they added the word cloud to the mix? I mean seriously why are we using this stupid marketing term in any discussion about computers these days. I don't know how many times my clients ask me about the 'cloud' and I have to explain that all that means is you're storing your data or using the computing power of a remote server. It's a misleading and uninformative term like most marketing lingo. I think most people are starting to think we have found some new way to store data in actual clouds.

Re:How is this (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40516619)

It is marketing lingo. The only important factor I can see distinguishing the cloud is that it abstracts away the physical infrastructure a bit more. Your code still has to execute on a physical processor somewhere, but as a customer you don't need to worry about exactly where this might be. It's much more dynamic, allowing the cloud operator to perform better optimisation and load-balancing. They might decide to relocate a bunch of their client's data from one continent to another, and the client wouldn't notice. On the downside of this, regulatory compliance can be a nightmare, and the constant state of flux of the physical side can make things behave erratically. And if your resource needs are constant, you probably get screwed on price. It can be good though for bursty loads though - if you're running an internet flourist, it must be nice to be able to contact the cloud operator when february nears and be able to just rent a few more servers for a week.

Re:How is this (2)

XSpud (801834) | about 2 years ago | (#40517111)

... if you're running an internet flourist, it must be nice to be able to contact the cloud operator when february nears and be able to just rent a few more servers for a week.

Pancake day must be quite an event in your part of the world - over here most people get by with what they already have in the cupboard.

Re:How is this (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40517617)

Well spotted.

Re:How is this (1)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about 2 years ago | (#40517149)

It is special because they really need to dump the last generation computer off on somebody so they can afford to run the new one. STFC has just paid for some new computers for physics, and one of them is in Cambridge. What they haven't done (at least here in Leicester) is paid for the electricity.

Basically this is universities holding an electronic car boot sale because they are down on funding.

Re:How is this (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 2 years ago | (#40517313)

Yup, summary needs a little sed magic:
s/\ not\ /\ always\ /

Re:How is this (1)

Shagg (99693) | about 2 years ago | (#40517791)

I think most people are starting to think we have found some new way to store data in actual clouds.

Not until "Cloud 2.0"!

Old Joke (1)

Elgon (234306) | about 2 years ago | (#40516581)

Question - How many Imperial grads does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer - Only one, but they'd do it just as well as someone who went to Oxford or Cambridge.

Similar work exists (2)

madboson (649658) | about 2 years ago | (#40517529)

This sounds just like the former teragrid [] and open science grid [] projects. Both of which saw reasonable useage from the scientific community. These things worked well for two reasons, one it is easy to get time on them for small research groups. Second, they allowed cluster owners to offer up idle cpu time to the project. A net win for every one.

Re:Similar work exists (1)

Bill Barth (49178) | about 2 years ago | (#40522227)

It's nothing like TG. TG systems basically gave all their cycles away for free through the work of the Resource Allocation Committee--a peer-review body that met quarterly to review proposals and give out allocations of time. This work continues through the XD program under the auspices of XSEDE [] .

Re:Similar work exists (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40526321)

Those were grids. This is a cloud.

Business on public money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40517779)

All universities do this know. They get public funding, also charge the students, and then strike licensing deals with the industry.

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