The Fastway to the HPC Cloud

Fastway Engineering and UberCloud help bring High Performance Computing to Product Designers

Here at Fastway Engineering, we are always creating the most innovative curriculum to help Designers and Design Engineers become better decision makers. In addition to creating the fastest, smartest workflow in the widest variety of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software, we are also dedicated to ensuring that Product Designers have the most powerful tools at their fingertips. The latest set of tools involve the use of High Performance Computing (HPC) on the Cloud.

So how will Fastway Engineering help lower HPC Cloud barriers for Product Designers? With The Fastway Store on the UberCloud Marketplace.

HPC: Roots in Product Development

  The Blue Gene/P supercomputer at Argonne National Lab is a typical example of HPC Hardware.

Think of HPC as your personal computer on steroids. InsideHPC, the popular tech blog, describes HPC as "the practice of aggregating computing power in a way that delivers much higher performance than one could get out of a typical desktop computer or workstation in order to solve large problems in science, engineering, or business." A comprehensive, yet easy-to-read article can be found here:

For as long as computers have been computing, their limitations have always been easily reached, whether it's trying to multitask by running multiple software programs at once, or solving large Structural or Fluid Analysis problems. Every analyst has hit the limitations of their computer - usually resulting in failure and frustration.

To avoid this waste of time, large Engineering & Manufacturing firms directed their IT teams to design and deploy custom "clusters" of computers on-site, thus allowing employees access to seemingly unlimited computing power and memory space. You could log on to the cluster, send a job to the queue, and go back to work. Right or wrong at least you got an answer, and unlike us needy humans, computers can work 24/7.

Was it worth the investment? Sure. Is that the best use of company resources? Probably not. Come to find out, the resources needed to run an engineering/manufacturing business and the resources needed to run an HPC center are much different: Different people with different skill sets using different tools. In today's "lean" world, this is just not acceptable - realizing this, many firms have shed the costly overhead of managing their own HPC center.

The Cloud Gives Us Public Access to HPC

So... as these things tend to go, new markets are created when new technology is commercialized, and it is this commercial access to HPC technology that is commonly referred to as "cloud computing", or in today's fast-paced digital world where long words take too long to type, "the cloud".

With HPC commercially available, it enabled new services, new companies, and new business models.

With access to the cloud, anybody from medium and small businesses to individuals, now have access to this seemingly unlimited computing power. The trick to this is being able to quickly connect a supercomputer located at an HPC facility somewhere else, to you, located right there in your office. More on that in a bit.

No sooner was this technology available, then businesses new and old started utilizing it to provide superior services with innovative new applications. These easy-to-use "apps", were developed with fancy website front ends, and sophisticated HPC back-ends and hence the term Software as a Service (SaaS) was born. Now, websites were not only information sources, they become data processors.

CAE firms have been using HPC forever, but only recently has it been readily available on the cloud.

The engineering community, being the conservative bunch that we are, has not been an "early adopter" of the public cloud. There are a host of reasons as to why, but that is for another article. The bottom line is that if this powerful and accessible technology can be used for something as simple as retail shopping, then why can't it be used for solving highly technical problems such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)?

Of course it can, and it is.

The challenge however, is that utilizing HPC for a wide variety of CAE software requires a very specific and detailed process - Allocating the optimum hardware, obtaining the necessary software and licensing, making them work nicely together and then establishing a secure communication between the setup and the end user. There are just so many options in hardware services and software providers, that taking your CAE to the cloud has been an intimidating and time consuming venture. Until now...

UberCloud enables Product Designers

The UberCloud was launched in 2012, by Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch in Silicon Valley, with the aim to provide easy (and agnostic!) access to HPC for anybody who needs it. UberCloud is best known for its UberCloud Experiment, the free, community driven effort that explores the end-to-end process of accessing and using remote High Performance Computing resources in HPC Centers and HPC Clouds, on demand.

UberCloud has completed two very comprehensive investigative rounds of experiments (which can be accessed here and here) in understanding the barriers for companies in using HPC. These experiments were so successful, that UberCloud received the top honors with  HPCwire Readers Choice Award for the Best Use of HPC in the Cloud. Twice. First, in 2013 at the International Supercomputing Show in Denver and again the following year in 2014 at the Show in New Orleans.

Now that we all know what HPC is, one of the most common challenges (UberCloud's experiments taught us) is that nobody knows where to go to get it! As a result, UberCloud created the UberCloud Marketplace - a place to learn more about and gain access to HPC hardware, software, and related services. It's basically a one-stop-shop for CAE on the cloud.

Innovative Education coupled with UberCloud's Exclusive Container Technology shortens Product Development time. Now that's the Fastway!

The UberCloud Marketplace, built upon extremely innovative UberCloud Containers, allows users fast direct access to on-demand HPC services. Imagine having all of the HPC hardware and software options at your fingertips. It is a very simple and FAST WAY of solving really big Engineering problems, and that aligns perfectly with our culture here at Fastway Engineering.

The Fastway Store: Your place for "CAE in the Cloud" Education

The Fastway Store in the UberCloud Marketplace offers the best in CAE in the Cloud Education. It has been created specifically to deliver Designers and Design Engineers exclusive training classes in the most popular CAE software, in addition to exclusive hands-on projects centered around using CAE with HPC on the cloud. This means access to seemingly unlimited computing power at your fingertips. Those who sign up for these classes will not only get introduced to a specific software package, but will also get FREE access to the Ubercloud. There is no faster way to learn how to use CAE on the cloud.

Introducing the Intro to Ansys Mechanical on UberCloud Class!

Structural Analysis in Ansys Mechanical Workbench

First up in the Fastway Store? Ansys, of course! Building on our expertise in this popular software, we have developed a unique curriculum which introduces participants to the latest release of Ansys Mechanical Workbench, and also includes an exclusive hands-on project solving an Ansys Mechanical analysis on the cloud via UberCloud. Participants in class will get FREE access to UberCloud to conduct their analysis, and find out just how fast and easy HPC can be.

In the class, we'll bring participants up to speed on HPC technology by covering everything from teraflops to terabytes, and learn about Parallel processing, InfiniBand Switches, GPU Acceleration, and everything there is to know about HPC licensing options.

Ansys Mechanical HPC Benchmark showing a significant decrease in solve time. (Source: Ansys)

To find out all of the details, including dates and times of the first round of classes, head over to the Fastway Store now!

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