CIS awarded two high-end GPUs from NVIDIA

(Disclaimer: Sorry gamers. These GPUs are not for 3D gaming, but for number crunching scientific calculations!)

CIS submitted a proposal to NVIDIA’s Academic Partnership Program on the last day of May. NVIDIA quickly approved the proposal on June 11 and decided to donate us two Tesla C2075 GPUs (MSRP $2,500 per piece). Although it took a month to process the shipment at NVIDIA’s distribution center due to their high demand, it was worth the wait!

Tesla C2075 from NVIDIA

As of this writing, Tesla C2075 is the top-notch GPU available on the market for GPU computing. It has 448 CUDA cores and 6GB GDDR5 memory, which allows to pull 515 Gflops in double precision calculations and 1030 Gflops in single precision. Yup, it’s a little monster and we’ve got two of them!

CIS (Andy Davenport and Jeho Park) has been collaboratively working with Prof. Vatche Sahakian at Physics on a pilot project to prepare a new high performance GPU system on our campus. Prof. Sahakian generously offered to purchase a high-end GPU host computer. CIS is providing the NVIDIA GPUs and technical support to build a new system. Once the setup is complete, the new system will be tested and later shared with faculty and student researchers at Harvey Mudd for high-performance GPU computing experiences and tests. If you are interested in GPU computing or wish to involve in the GPU computing pilot, please contact Jeho Park at CIS for more information (or leave your comment to this post).

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2012 Sakai Conference

Sakai conference logoLast month I attended the 2012 annual Sakai conference in Atlanta, GA along with a cohort of my colleagues from Pomona College. This year the conference was a little different in that it was held jointly with the Jasig Community. Jasig is similar to the Sakai Foundation in that it sponsors a number of open-source projects for higher education. They include uPortal, an open-source web portal; CAS, an open-source authentication system; Bedework, an open-source enterprise calendar system; and uMobile, an initiative to bring campus content to mobile devices.

At last year’s conference it was announced that the Sakai Foundation and Jasig were proposing a merger between the two communities. The two communities will be voting on the proposal in the near future. Certainly, holding a joint conference was a great way to show how a merger could be mutually beneficial. I attended several Jasig sessions and could see many areas where collaboration would be very helpful, for example in the area of developing a mobile Sakai.

At this year’s conference, developers were showing off version 1.3 of Sakai OAE (Open Academic Environment). Sakai OAE is being developed in tandem with Sakai CLE (Collaborative Learning Environment) which is the version that we are currently using at The Claremont Colleges. Sakai OAE is focused more on content creation and sharing. The new version has impressive drag-and-drop features for content creation and was very well received by the conference attendees.

I attended many interesting sessions. Among the highlights: using the Evaluation System tool for online course evaluations, common pitfalls in the Gradebook tool, integrating Google calendars into Sakai, and using external tools and open content in Sakai. Please feel free to stop by and ask me for more details if any of these topics interest you.