High Performance Computing on Wall Street has been running for a couple of years now, but interest seems at an all-time high this year. Today I have talked to IBM, Cisco and, on a related matter, Platform Computing. One common theme, which I will elaborate on Monday since some of this is embargoed, is that companies want improved performance without ripping out their exiting infrastructures, and vendors are responding with solutions that can be dropped into the existing environment. (How the IT people who actually make this stuff work must hate that sort of casual terminology — sort of like describing 500 pound bombs as surgical air strikes).
Pete: It’s certainly been a hot year for this subject, and so I’m very pleased with what we’ve been able to do. I think the area that’s become very hot this year is the area of “low latency,” and quite a lot of the conference is about that. It’s about different aspects of that, whether it be multi-core processing helping to achieve [low latency], or software engineering in terms of software stacks helping to achieve [low latency], or high-performance networking like InfiniBand helping to achieve [low latency.]
Gt: Are there any sessions or panels that you’re looking forward to seeing, or that you think will be particularly interesting?
HARRIS: There are a couple of them, actually. There is one on hardware acceleration (“Focus on: Hardware Acceleration, FPGA Technologies, Low Latency Ticker Plants Implementing Hardware Accelerated Applications For Market Data and Financial Computations”), which is [an] emerging [area]. We actually ran the hardware acceleration panel last year, and it was a pretty new area then, and we were surprised to see it was totally packed, so we moved it to a big room this year and got lots of participants. We’ve got Intel and AMD on the same panel, which is going to be interesting, and we’ve got someone from UBS [Invesment Bank], so I think that one’s going to be a blast.
Also, IBM is actually giving a wide-ranging presentation about what it’s doing. One of the things it is doing is something called “System S,” which is a very scalable supercomputer, which they’re looking at for stream-processing applications, processing many messages per second. IBM’s research people are researching it; it’s not something you can buy right now. That’s kind of interesting.
Come back next week for more details.