Even though I haven’t done any work in that area in years, I got pulled into the Supercomputing conference again this year. Can’t complain, it’s always fun. UK’s combined booth looked good this year
Far corner is a little updated TinyTitan style Raspberry Pi cluster with a interactive CFD demo running on it that the CCS folks have been playing with, that thing in the leading corner is a cute flip-dot “quantum computer” model we built as a front-end for a 16-bit instance of Hank’s parallel bit-pattern computing system that can do quantum algorithms efficiently on a conventional platform – set in the corner of the booth like
He did surprisingly well with this approach.
The exhibit floor was even more dominated by cooling tech this year. Exciting finds are the coming of very open (Open Compute Project, Coreboot + Open Network Linux) white-box 100GBE switches at reasonable prices, Fujitsu’s A64fx ARM with SVE and obscene memory bandwidth parts actually landing in systems, and (just because it tickled me) pre-wired fully populated Clos topology 100G cable harnesses. The other dominant species was AI woo; my body is ready for AI Winter 3.0.
Google photos album of my annotated show floor photos is here.
Article note: Interesting. My strong guess is high-end ARM (The Marvell - strictly acquired from Broadcom - ThunderX2 based demonstrator systems proved out this year, and Fujitsu's A64FX is yet more impressive), but I notice they're very carefully not precisely specifying that in any of their press materials. Could just be that they're still working out licensing details.
Article note: It's set between 1 and 2, so no resolution of the HL2:E2 cliffhanger we've all been waiting 15 years for. I am excited to see if they've finally come up with something compelling to do with a VR set, because that hasn't happened yet.
The game, which Valve says is "set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2," has been "designed from the ground up for Virtual Reality" (i.e. you can stop hoping for a 2D monitor release). "Everyone at Valve is excited to be returning to the world of Half-Life," Valve founder Gabe Newell said in a statement. “VR has energized us."
"We’ve invested a lot of ourselves in the technology," Newell's statement continues. "But we're also game developers at heart, and to be devoting ourselves to a VR game this ambitious is just as exciting. For that to come in the form of Half-Life feels like the culmination of a lot of things we care a lot about: truly great games, cutting edge technology, and open platforms. We can’t wait for people to experience this."
Oddly, one of the most exciting things I’ve seen at SC19 is whitebox switch hardware. Innovium’s Teralynx Ethernet fabric silicon smells like the end of Broadcom’s near-monoply (and associated deep partnership with high-end switch vendors with their proprietary environments) in that space, and the coming of whitebox 100+ GBE (and frankly, even 40+GBE) switches. I chatted with some folks from Innovium and Cameo, who were hosted in the Gigabyte booth because apparently they’re partnering, where they were showing serious enterprise switches that are open to the bones running Open Network Linux booted from Coreboot instead of proprietary lock-in vendor OS. Even their baby product in the line, the ESCC600-32Q (PDF warning) is pretty damn exciting.
Article note: Huh. I've been _deeply_ unimpressed by VR so far, but if anyone can make something compelling...
For a certain class of video game fan, no news could be bigger than today's: Half-Life is back. In VR. As an entirely new game from the series' creators at Valve.
We're here to connect the dots between what has been announced, what has been rumored, and what we've heard from well-placed sources. Rise and shine, Half-Life fans. We have a lot for you today.
Months of rumors, then a TGA leak
We should probably begin with the game's name, as revealed in a leaked Game Awards 2019 presentation and confirmed hours later by an official post from Valve. Half-Life: Alyx is a brand-new game in the Half-Life universe designed exclusively for PC virtual reality systems (Valve Index, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality).
Article note: On one hand, this is an obviously absurd demand. On the other hand, I'm now worried that restaurants are going to contaminate their grills with coconut from the fake burgers, and I'm going to have a surprise allergic reaction.
Some vegans have filed a lawsuit against Burger King because they cook the Impossible Burger Whoppers on the same grill as their meat burgers. According to the suit, the Impossible Whopper is not a vegan option and the restaurant doesn't disclose the meat contamination on their menu. Of course, vegans and vegetarians have been quite vocal about this issue since the Impossible Whopper's introduction.
According to TMZ, plaintiff Philip Williams "not only wants damages ... he wants the judge to order Burger King to stop cooking Impossible Burgers and the OG burgers on the same grill. Read the rest