November 5, 2008–Wolfram Research announced an initiative today to develop a cloud computing service for users of their flagship technical computing software, Mathematica. This project is a collaborative effort by Wolfram Research, Nimbis Services, Inc., a clearing-house for accessing third-party compute resources and commercial software, and R Systems NA, Inc., a provider of computing resources to the commercial and academic research community.
According to Deborah Wince-Smith, President of the Council on Competitiveness, “High-performance computing systems (HPC) remain a largely underutilized competitiveness asset in the United States for the majority of companies. Opening access to HPC represents a huge productivity opportunity for the nation and a competitiveness transformation challenge.” The collaboration of Wolfram Research, Nimbis Services, and R Systems will make the transition from desktop to HPC systems easier for Mathematica users by providing efficiently structured access to larger, more powerful computing systems.
Nimbis Services will enable the Mathematica cloud service to access many diverse HPC systems, including TOP500 supercomputers and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. Nimbis Services, Inc., President & CEO Robert Graybill echoes the Council’s views on HPC systems and explains that the foundational principle of Nimbis Services is to focus on “ease of use” by providing experimental and periodic business users the choice of large-scale computing service alternatives, all in one “instant” computing storefront.
“Our partnership with Wolfram Research immensely benefits software users attempting to increase efficiency and capacity,” says R Systems founder Brian Kucic. “As Mathematica users seek to extend resource capacity, the exceptionally large memory of our multi-core HPC resources and the double-data rate and quad-data rate InfiniBand network will increase performance.” HPC resources such as the R Smarr cluster by R Systems, Inc., which was recently named the 44th fastest system on the TOP500 list for supercomputing pioneers, are responsible for bringing HPC technology to the forefront.
The Mathematica cloud computing service will provide flexible and scalable access to HPC from within Mathematica, simplifying the transition from desktop technical computing to HPC. “The two largest challenges in using HPC are programming the HPC application itself and ensuring that you can get enough computing power to do the job,” says Tom Wickham-Jones, Wolfram Research Executive Director of Kernel Technology. “Mathematica answers the programming challenge by providing an integrated technical computing platform, enabling computation, visualization, and data access. Cloud computing offers consistent access to large-scale computing capabilities. We are excited to be working with Nimbis and R Systems to offer HPC access to our customers.”