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Cray adds big data software to supercomputers


Supercomputer maker Cray has announced a new suite of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) software called Urika-XC for its top-of-the-line XC Series of supercomputers. Urika-XC is a set of analytics software that will let XC users use Apache Spark, Intel’s BigDL deep learning library, Cray’s Urika graph analytics engine, and an assortment of Python-based data science tools.

With the Urika-XC software suite, analytics and AI workloads can run alongside scientific modelling and simulations on Cray XC supercomputers, eliminating the need to move data between systems. Cray XC customers will be able to run converged analytics and simulation workloads across a variety of scientific and commercial endeavours, such as real-time weather forecasting, predictive maintenance, precision medicine and comprehensive fraud detection.

Urika-XC is the latest in the Urika line of big data analytics offerings. Cray first offered Urika-GD, which focused on graph analytics. Urika-XA followed, and was focused on Hadoop. Subsequently, Urika-GX combined graphical analytics, Hadoop and Spark.

So, in addition to the existing methodologies, Urika-XC software brings deep learning and the Python-based Dask data science library into the solution, along with the R language, Anaconda and Maven.

Large data, fast results
Intel‘s BigDL framework in place allows users to bring the power of deep learning frameworks, including TensorFlow and Caffe, against large amounts of unstructured data. The Urika graph engine, meanwhile, delivers extremely fast analytic results for more refined and structured data.

One of the first users of the Urika-XC software is the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland, which has the third-fastest supercomputer in the world: a Cray XC supercomputer with 361,000 Xeon cores nick-named “Piz Daint.”

“We were very fortunate to participate with our Cray supercomputer Piz Daint in the early evaluation phase of the Cray Urika-XC environment,” said Professor Dr Thomas C. Schulthess, director of the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in a statement. “Initial performance results and scaling experiments using a subset of applications, including Apache Spark and Python have been very promising. We look forward to exploring future extensions of the Cray Urika-XC analytics software suite.”

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