SC13: Relaxed opening night gala stays cool, sets the tone

Check out the coolest stuff on the floor at SC13

SC13, the annual conference on supercomputing held by the IEEE and ACM, began Monday night the way most industry confabs end – with a relaxed shindig on the show floor.

It seems a good plan – giving attendees a chance to tour the 365 exhibit booths set up at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center outside of normal business hours and figure out which ones demand less casual scrutiny. The atmosphere was collegial, with most attendees simply wandering the floor and checking out the most interesting exhibits.

[MORE SUPERCOMPUTING: The 10 fastest supercomputers on Earth]

Some highlights:

*3M and Allied Control’s demo of an open-bath cooling system for hot-running computer components drew a great deal of attention. Essentially, the system simply immerses hardware – anything from a smartphone to a large, multi-processor board – in a bath of non-conductive fluid for heat transfer.

Such an arrangement, according to Allied Control, has already paid big dividends for a pilot data center client in Hong Kong – nearly eliminating costs for traditional chillers and air conditioning, despite the warm ambient climate, and allowing for a 500kW facility to be fit into less than 160 square feet of space. The company boasts that the test data center’s operators were able to save $64,000 a month in cooling costs and achieve a power usage effectiveness rating of 1.02.

*Various other flavors of liquid cooling system were also on show at the event, ranging from traditional water block and reservoir combos to an offering from Asetek that vents hot water to an open pool for cooling.

sc13

This pool was noticeably hot when a hand was held over it, though the rubber ducky doesn’t seem to be any the worse for wear.

*Extreme Networks went so far as to bring a tractor-trailer loaded with its latest and greatest, including the new Summit X770 top-of-rack switch. The company’s BlackDiamond X8 hardware is a part of the conference’s own SCinet network, additionally.

*Stalwarts like IBM also made their presence felt – Big Blue showed off the power of Linux with its Power7R2 servers running OpenCL. The company also displayed a wide range of other technologies, including the Blue Gene/Q architecture running on four of the top 10 fastest supercomputers in the world, according to the latest Top500 list.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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