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Does HPC’s future lie in remote visualisation?


At the intersection of big data, the cloud, and HPC, remote visualisation is anything but a remote prospect, as Tom Wilkie discovers


I


magine, for a moment, that you’ve taken a break from work and are in a café. As you sip your skinny latte, an idea occurs about the modelling and simulation project that you


have been working on. You need to look at the data to see if your idea will work. But the dataset is enormous. It could take two days to download over the internet, even


with a high-bandwidth internet connection (not usually available in coffee shops!), and you have only a laptop on which to do the processing. In any case, you do not want to access your company’s data over what may well be an insecure public internet connection. So you get out your mobile phone and use the phone network to link your laptop to the remote


servers where your data is stored, where you can run the application, and where you can visualise the results without having to move data. Typically, your phone might give you a


bandwidth of 5Mb/s. And that will be enough. Welcome to the new paradigm for scientific computing.


The new way of doing HPC Remote visualisation is at the intersection of cloud, big data, and high performance computing. And the ability to look at complex data sets using only a mobile phone’s data rate is not some fantasy of the future. It is reality


From Lugano to New Orleans: Remote visualisation allowed the results of Bonsai galactic simulations being run on Piz Daint (above) at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre to be displayed in real time at the 2014 Supercomputing Conference in New Orleans


20 SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING WORLD @scwmagazine l www.scientific-computing.com


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