Arizona Science and Engineering Fair: April 1-3 2013

It’s that time of year again. We just got the brochures for the 2013 Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) back from our printer.

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This is one of PADT’s favorite STEM events in the state, it is amazing what the kids show off at this event.

AZSEF-logo

This is a statewide science and engineering fair for grades 5 through 12.

Public viewing is on Wednesday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and it is held in the South Hall of the Phoenix Convention Center.  We can’t wait to see what the students have done this year.

PADT on Local TV Talking About 3D Printing

thList

The general public’s interest in 3D Printing has taken us all a bit by surprise. We know it is a popular topic but we were shocked when a local TV station (ABC15 – KNXV) called us up and wanted to do some filming of 3D printers in action, answer some questions they had about the technology so they could make sure they got it right in the story,  and talk to someone about 3D Printing.  Tey ended up getting a copy of the reporters head as well. Here is the result:

The List: The Futurist: 3D Printing a beak, a break and something in vain

It is not the first time that PADT has been on TV, but the first time we have made it on beyond background shots or public access.  They edited out all of the brilliant and insightful comments, which is expected.  What was nice is they really did not get anything wrong in the story and they spelled our name right!

PADT By The Numbers

We just added a new page to the “About” portion of our website: PADT By the Numbers.

I know this will be no surprise to anyone who knows engineers, but we like to quantify things.  This page takes a bunch of numbers that describe PADT and summarizes them in one place:

To save you the effort of clicking on the link, here are the numbers:

Years in Business: 19

Number of Employees: 72

Count of Employees with PhD‘s: 6

Average Number of Years Employees have Worked for PADT: 6.76

Number of States with at Least One PADT Employee: 7

Average Years of Experience for Engineers: 17.7

Number of Employees with Masters Degrees: 12

Quantity of Named Customers Served: Over 1,500

Count of Companies that have Co-Located within PADT: 4

Number of Compute Cluster Cores: Over 600

Size of Terabyts of RAM for Compute Cluster: Over 2.5

Amount invested in Lab and Prototyping Equipment: $1,500,000

Count of Approved Vendors: 350

Quantity of Approved Medical Device Vendors: 60

Amount of Rapid Prototyping Models Delivered: Over 100,000

Number of Functional Prototypes Created: Over 500

Count of Product Development Projects Completed: Over 300

Amount of Numerical Simulation Models Run: Over 7,000

Quantity of Small Business Innovative Research Grants (SBIR) awarded: 13

Number of Companies PADT has Done an Angel Investment in: 9

3D Printing on “Big Bang Theory”

The thing that gets me about “The Big Bank Theory” is how accurate it is. They seem to always get it right and their treatment of 3D Printing during “The Cooper/Kripke Inversion” last week was spot on.

http://www.cbs.com/shows/big_bang_theory/video/EYtoEVXpKfTrFjbz8TEKJ3AZnjpAPs7k/the-big-bang-theory-the-cooper-kripke-inversion 

Take a look at 7:10 and then 11:06.

BBT-3d-Printing-Whistle“We Printed a Whistle!”

“Amazing! You know these things go for 25 cents a pop at a party store”

“And we made it in only 3 hours!”

So close it hurts!

ANSYS Technical Support Call… or a Pizza Order

We came in the other day to find this in our ANSYS Technical Support voice mail box:

Tech Support?

Pretty darn funny.  I wonder if he would take one slice if we applied cyclo-symmetric boundary conditions?

Cyclo symmetric pizza slice

Monster in the Closet: PADT Goes Live with 512 Core HVPC CUBE Cluster

imageThere is a closet in the back of PADT’s product development lab. It does not store empty boxes, old files, or obsolete hardware.  Within that closet is a monster.  Not the sort of monster that scares little children at night.  No, this is a monster that puts fear into the heart of those who try to paint high performance computing as a difficult and expensive task only to be undertaking by those who are in the priesthood.  It makes salespeople who earn fat commissions by selling consulting services and unnecessary add-ons quake in fear.

This closet holds PADT’s latest upgrade to our compute infrastructure: a 512 core CUBE HVPC Cluster.  No data center, no special consultants, no expensive add-ons. Just 512 cores chugging away at solving FLUENT and CFX problems, and pumping a large amount of heat up into the ceiling.

Here are the specifics:

CUBE C512 Columbia Class Cluster

  • 512 AMD 2.4GHz Cores (in 8 nodes, 4 sockets per node, 16 cores per socket)
  • 2TB RAM (256 GB per node of DDR3 1600 ECC RAM)
  • Raid Controller Card (1 per node)
  • 24TB Data Disk Space (3TB per node of SAS2 15k drives in RAID0)
  • Infiniband (8 Port switch, 40 Gbps)
  • 52 Port GIGE switch connected to 2 GIGE ports per node
  • 42 U Rack with thermal convection ducting (chimney)
  • Keyboard, monitor, mouse in drawer
  • CENTOS (switching to RedHat soon)

We built this system with CFD simulation in mind.  The original goal was to provide a proof of concept to expand our CUBE HVPC offering, showing that you can create a cluster of this size, with very good speed, for a price that small and medium sized companies can afford.  We also needed a way to run large problems for benchmarks in support of our ANSYS sales efforts and to provide faster technical support our FLUENT and CFX customers.  We already have a growing queue of benchmarks waiting to get into the machine.

The image above is the glamour shot.  Here is what it looks like in the closet:

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Keeping with our theme of High Value Performance Computing we stuck it into this closet that was built for telephone equipment and networking equipment back at the turn of the century when Motorola had this suite.  We were able to fit a modern rack in next to an old rack that was in there. We then used the included duct to push the air up into our ceiling space and moved the A/C ducting to duct right into the front of the units.  We did need to keep the flow going into the rack instead of into the area under the networking and telephone switches, so we used an old video game poster:

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Anyone remember Ratchet and Clank? 
Best PS2 games ever.

It works well and adds a little color to the closet.

So far our testing has shown some great numbers. Not the fastest cluster out there, but if you look at the cost, it offers incredible performance.   You could add a drive array over Infiniband, faster chips, and some redundant power. And it will run faster and more reliably, but it will cost much more.  We are cheap so we like this solution.

Oh yea, with the parts from our old CFD cluster and some new bits, we will be building a smaller mini-cluster using INTEL chips, a GPU or two, and a ton of fast disk and RAM as our FEA cluster.  Look for an update on that in a couple of months.

Interested in getting a cluster like this for you computing pleasure?  A system configured like this one will run about $150,000 (video game poster is extra). Visit our CUBE page to learn more or just shoot an email to sales@padtinc.com.  Don’t worry, we don’t sell these with sales people, someone from IT will get back with you.

11411 – Symmetry in Subscribers

Every day we get a little update from Constant Contact on how many people subscribed or unsubscribed from our mailing list.  The number this morning was 11411:

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I don’t really remember when it got above 10,000, but 11,000 is an impressive number of people who want to be kept informed about various things going on at PADT.  But what struck me for some reason was the symmetry of the number: 11-4-11

Does symmetry in numbers fascinate you?  Or am I just weird   Does posting stuff like this risk a reduction in our subscriber count?

If you want to help us get to 11511, or 12012, subscribe to PADT’s emails on our subscription page.

 

Empty High-End Computer Rack, What Should we Fill it With?

Empty high end rack

We have a new rack installed in our compute server room (well closet really).  I wonder what we can fill that with? Looks like it can handle a lot of heat, and a lot of units.  We shall see what the week brings.

Picking a Server Rack Frame

Selecting a server rack frame could be the most important part of the designing phase. In order to assist with choosing a proper fit for your environment, here are 8 rack considerations to keep in mind:

  1. What size Rack Cabinet Enclosure do I need?
    Selecting the correct server cabinet size depends on 2 major factors: the type of equipment needed for rack mount capabilities and the amount of equipment requiring server rack enclosure space. The key to having a good server rack buying experience is planning. Ideally, users should tally the total amount of rack units currently needed and also keep in mind future expansion because cabinet rack units can not be added on once a server rack is fabricated. If additional rack mount accessories such as environmental monitoring, battery back-up, and/or remote power management are required, extra front and rear cabinet space might be needed in order to sufficiently mount rack accessories vertically and horizontally. At rackmountsales.com you can choose racks by size.
  2. What is the significance of Internal Rack Cabinet Enclosure Dimensions?
    Internal Dimensions should be used as a guide to gauge the size and amount of equipment one can install in server rack enclosures. Internal vertical measurements from the tallest point of any side rail to the bottom chassis is regarded as total internal height. Internal depth is figured by measuring from the insides of both front and rear doors. Lastly, internal width measurements extend from one side panel to the other.

    When accessing rack mount needs, internal dimension measurements should also take into consideration rack equipment and accessories that normally mount internally to the rear or side of cabinets. Additional space can be modified during rack manufacturing to allow for side, rear, and front mounted rack equipment. Additionally, the auxiliary compartment space will provide room for ventilation systems, bulky power cords and cabling management requirements.

  3. What is the significance of External Rack Cabinet Enclosure Dimensions?
    Determining server rack location within a data center or co-location facility is often overlooked until the rack enclosure arrives at the dock for delivery. It is very crucial for users to determine if the finalized exact external dimensions of the server rack will fit through doorways and other obstructions of the intended target location. Consider carefully environmental factors such as ceiling height and clearance regulations in your data center or server farm. Also, be sure to respect dimensions of stairways and freight elevators if server racks need to be transported through them for final placement.
  4. Will my Rack Cabinet Enclosure fit in the room it’s intended for?
    Considerations such as server rack weight and height are very important factors to take into account when moving server racks from place to place. Particular server racks can weigh in at over 300 lbs. and can stand very tall at over 7 feet. Server racks are large items which require considerable effort when moving, rounding corners, lifting up stairs, and fitting in any tight spaces. Please ensure that enough room has been made and accounted for before rack enclosures are purchases and finalized.
  5. Will the Rack Cabinet Enclosure fit through all doors on the way into the destination room?
    All of our server rack enclosures ship fully assembled. There are some removable components, such as door as side panels, but that will not change external dimensions of the rack frame which cannot be taken apart. Please consider all product dimensions carefully to ensure server racks meet all clearance regulations.
  6. What is a Rack Unit? What does 40U mean? 44U? 48U? etc.
    A “Rack Unit” or Rack “U” is an EIA standard allowance unit for measuring rack mount equipment. One “Rack Unit” is equal to 1.75″ in height. To calculate internal useable space of a rack enclosure, simply multiply the total amount of Rack Units by 1.75″. For example, a44U rack enclosure would have 77″ of internal usable space (44 x 1.75). Click here to choose racks by height.
  7. How do I calculate how many Rack Units I need?
    Many data center managers calculate rack enclosure height needed by determining the optimal rack unit usage. For example, if users are aware that future plans call for the addition of 20 2U sized servers, they could count on needing a 44U rack enclosure. This will allow enough internal height for approximately 20 servers, room for a 1U patch panel and a 2U UPS back-up battery. Rear or side vertically mounted power management devices will also have sufficient room to perform their functions.
  8. What is the purpose of a 2-Post Relay Rack?
    A Relay Rack is a 2-post aluminum or steel structure with either EIA standard (round) mounting holes or universal (square) mounting holes. Relay Racks are also known as 2-Post Racks or Open Bay Racks. The vertical holes spacing on Relay Racks are standardized for mounting Telco, or computer / network equipment. Relay Racks can also mount cantilever shelving for other non-rack mountable equipment.
    The Open Bay rack design also provides maximum air flow for the entire rack due to the open frame construction.

Rail Comparison

Universal Square hole Rail
Universal Mounting Rails
Rack Enclosure EIA Mounting Rails
EIA Standard 10/32 Tapped Mounting Rails

Rack Mount Rails: We can manufacture server rack enclosures with either Universal Mounting Rails (square holes fitted with cage nuts) or with EIA Standard rails (10/32 tapped holes). All our cabinet rails are high quality gauge steel (1/8″ thick or more) and have an electroplate finish to maximize protection.

Universal Mounting Rails: Universal rails will support 19″ EIA width rack mount and networking equipment and almost all sever equipment. Cage nuts and screws will be needed in order to mount equipment to universal mounting rails.

EIA Standard Mounting Rails: Standard Mounting Rails support 19″ EIA width rack mount and networking equipment and some sever manufacturer’s rack mounting equipment. Please be aware that not all rack mountable equipment will match up against the EIA 1032 hole pattern on Standard Rails. Standard mounting rails will not allow the use of Cage Nuts.

Which Mounting Rails do I need? It depends on the equipment you will be mounting in the rack enclosure. Most rack mount and networking equipment such as hubs, routers, patch panels, etc. will conform to EIA Standard hole spacing. However, some sever and rack accessory manufacturers will implement rack mounting kits to assist with attaching equipment to Universal Rails. With this example, proper cage nuts and screws will most likely be needed in order to mount this type of rack mount equipment in one of our server cabinets.

Mounting Hardware

There are currently 3 types of Mounting Hardware used with our server cabinet rails:

10-32 Tapped Cage Nuts and Screws – American Version – Commonly used in all rack mount applications including music, video, broadcast, data and more. The “10” refers to the drill size for a tapped (threaded) hole. The outside diameter of a 10-32 screw is 0.19″, it is smaller than a 12-24 screw. This screw type has 32 threads per inch.

12-24 Tapped Screws – American Version – The “12” refers to the drill size required for a tapped (threaded) hole (a #12 drill is 0.189″). The outside diameter of a 12-24 screw is 0.2160″. It is larger than a 10-32 screw. This screw type has 24 threads per inch

M6 Tapped Cage Nuts and Screws – Metric Version – Metric thread size of 6 millimeters. Typical thread size for European rack applications. Also used in Compaq racks and Euro racks sold here in the US. Larger than both 10-32 and 12-24.

What mounting hardware do I need?
It depends on the mounting rails of the rack enclosure or relay rack you will be ordering. Most 4-Post server racks, cabinets, LAN enclosures either use Cage Nuts and Screws for square hole type Universal Mounting Rails or 1032 tapped screws for round hole style EIA Standard Mounting Rails. Please be aware that almost all 2-post open relay racks use 1032 Tapped Screws (round hole mounting rails).

PADT Sign at the End of the Rainbow

Ted Harris captured this picture when going home last Friday.  This is what you find at the end of a rainbow.

  RAinbow-PADT-Sign2

It is a long exposure to get the colors in the rainbow, so the sign is a bit bright.  But not bad for holding an iPhone steady.

Christmas Right–Left Gift Exchange Story: Romance Style

For our Christmas parties at PADT we generally have over 40 employees so a traditional secret Santa gift exchange takes to long. So a couple of years ago we downloaded a right-left gift exchange story from the internet and it was a big hit. We ran out of stories on the internet, so we started writing our own, usually in some sort of over-the-top style.  This year it was sort of a romance story with an Italian lover, a green dress, sword play, and a angry suitor.  It takes place at Christmas time… so there is the rather weak tie to Christmas.

If you have never played this game before it is simple. Everyone gets their gift and forms a big circle in the middle of the room.  Someone with a strong voice reads the story and every the world LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the world RIGHT is read, everyone passes the package they have to their right.  You should pause a bit at each LEFT/RIGHT to give people a chance to pass.  Using funny voices for the dialog also helps.

We hope you get as many laughs out of it as we did.

Here is a list of all of our Left-Right Christmas Gift Exchange Stories:

– Elf Family Christmas (2017)
– Western Christmas (2016)
– Star Wars Christmas (2015)
– Fairy Tail Christmas (2014)
– Science Fiction Christmas (2013)
– Romance Christmas (2012)
– Film Noir Christmas (2011)


image


Silvia LEFTwater lounged in her chair and watched Sir Robert St. RIGHTman stride across the portico, from LEFT to RIGHT into the LEFT wing of the LEFTwater mansion. She fluttered her eyes and inhaled a deep breath that stretched the bodice of her deep green satin dress. She held it for a time till it LEFT her a little light headed. She then let out a long, sad sigh.

RIGHT now, based upon the sigh that just LEFT your body, I am guessing that your heart is once again RIGHT where I… last enjoyed your embrace.

Hearing Alberto’s voice coming from the doorway startled Silvia RIGHT out of her deep contemplation. During the summer they had enjoyed a brief, deep and passionate romance, stolen moments together RIGHT here in her Writeing study, that had LEFT her wanting more. If she was honest with herself, it had LEFT her devastated. But he had… gone away without saying a word, only WRITEing her a single note that explained he would return RIGHT before Christmas. She had moved on, or so she thought. She didn’t want to think about the complications that Alberto LEFT in his wake; she wanted to focus on Sir Robert RIGHT now.

“Alberto, it is such a pleasure to see you standing RIGHT here, you LEFT in such a hurry this summer.” She presented her RIGHT hand to him, which he took in both his LEFT and RIGHT hands, brushing his lips RIGHT against the top of her knuckles. “I am so glad you could be here for Christmas, it would not be RIGHT to celebrate it without you.”

Alberto looked down on her, gazing into her eyes in a way that LEFT her a bit breathless. “My dearest Silvia, you must be angry with me, and RIGHTly so. But it is now Christmas time and I want nothing LEFT to chance. So I have returned to RIGHT here, RIGHT now, to make things RIGHT. ”

Silvia felt her heart leap RIGHT out of her chest. He had LEFT her depressed and forlorn and now he marched RIGHT in at Christmas to declare something. And RIGHT after Sir Robert had LEFT this very same room after making a proposal of marriage. In fact, she realized that Sir Robert had declared his love to her standing in the same place Alberto stood now.

“Silvia, my peach, my desire, when I , LEFT here this summer I feel I did it for the RIGHT reasons. I bought property on the LEFT bank of the seine and opened an art auction house. And I sold pictures that my aunt had LEFT in plain sight, RIGHT above the LEFTmost window of our country estate. They were rare examples of the REITenhouser school of portraiture, painted by REITenhouser himself and his students. I sold them for a fortune, which has LEFT me with enough money to do RIGHT by you.”

Just then, Silvia saw Sir Robert over Alberto’s LEFT shoulder, standing in the door that had been LEFT open. His RIGHT eye twitched as his RIGHT hand slowly moved to his RIGHT hip where his sword was secured to his belt. “Alberto!” he yelled with RIGHTeous indignation. “By all that these mad days have still LEFT holy in this world, you have given up your RIGHT to Slivia’s attention. I have stood RIGHT by her side when you LEFT her crying, RIGHT here on this couch. Draw your sword, and we shall see who is LEFT standing!”

Alberto stood at attention, he looked RIGHT into Sir Robert’s eyes and said “You have LEFT me with no choice, we shall set this RIGHT….” He paused and drew his sword with his LEFT hand, for Alberto was not only Italian, he was a LEFTy, “… here and now”

And then they battled, back and forth, parry and thrust, thrust and parry. Silvia stood speechless, clutching her hands to her LEFT chest against her pounding heart. As the men fought, she was LEFT with a feeling of exhilaration. She knew it was… wrong… and not RIGHT, to find pleasure in their struggle. But she could not help herself. He chest heaved, covered with dewdrops of sweat as she watched them struggle.

Without warning, when they stood RIGHT in front of Silvia, Alberto slashed across Roberts LEFT cheek, which LEFT a long red streak under his eye. It also splashed blood RIGHT on Slivias RIGHT hip, RIGHT above her hand tooled leather belt.

“STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!!!” she shouted. Her outburst LEFT both men stunned and they stood there in front of her, looking RIGHT at her. “It is Christmas and this is not RIGHT. Although I am honored by your gallantry and willingness to fight for my love, the decision shall be LEFT to be to decide what is RIGHT for me.”

She took a deep breath and both men admired her long auburn hair, tied into a braid that sat on her RIGHT shoulder. She looked fierce, and beautiful. Then the word leapt RIGHT out from her “I love you Alberto, I always will. I would have rather you not LEFT me, and what you did was not RIGHT. But I forgive you. I’m sorry Sir Robert, it would be best if you LEFT now.”

Sir Robert dropped his sword and turned to leave. He walked through the door he had LEFT open only minutes before when he had LEFT after he had proposed to her, and walked down the hallway and… across the courtyard to his waiting carriage.

Which LEFT Silvia once again alone with Alberto, and it felt RIGHT. “Oh Alberto!” She felt his LEFT and RIGHT arms tight around her, which LEFT her no option but to collapse into his warm body. “This will be the Best Christmas Ever!” she said. Alberto leaned back and said. ” My Dear, Silvia, my love, my desire, my passion. You are…….. correct”

Printing from this Blog

A quick note before I head out for a Chris Isaac concert (my wife is a fan, and I’m supportive… but let me note that she did not support me by going to see Rush) I wanted to let our readers know about printing on this new blog.

Long time The Focus readers are used to having a “Print” link that will make a  nicely formatted printout of articles.  Some people like to do that and then share them with others or keep them in a book for reference. On the new WordPress based blog there is no need for that. Simply go to the article itself by clicking on the title, then print it out using your browsers print function. WordPress takes care of the formatting.

Have a great weekend!

Wicked Games

Rush

PADT’s New Website on Lynx

We were testing out the new Website on different browsers and some smarty-mc-smarty decided to try it on Lynx:

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It is not as bad as I thought it would be…  Who remembers using Lynx?

Another 2012 “Pumpkin” Launch… Well an Ice Ball Anyway

So, being engineers, we are not satisfied with the performance of actual pumpkins. We begin to ask ourselves “Hmmmm… is there a better material to use? What would happen if I tried to shoot _____”

So during this years Halloween launch festivities the team decided to try out an ice ball. 

Here is the result:

PADT Company Pictures Through the Years

As we get ready to launch the new website and the new blog, I find myself looking back on PADT’s 18 year history.  While looking for some lab pictures I found a directory buried about 6 levels down on my C:\ drive called “CompanyPictures”  And inside are all of the pictures that we have kept over the years. After looking at them I thought it might be fun to put them out there on the Blog.

Unfortunately we did not think to take a picture till 2000. So we were already 6 years old.  Since then we only missed 2004.  Take a look. Maybe you recognize someone you used to work with here, maybe you used to work here.  Let us know what you think in the comments.

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First Look: Pumpkin Launch 2012

For a couple of years now, PADT has had a tradition of shooting off pumpkin mortars on Halloween.  Originally we took dry ice, sealed it with some water in a 2 Liter bottle, put it in a tube with a pumpkin on top and “bang-whooosh” a pumpkin goes a flying.

Being engineers, we have to improve on the process… this year we used foam wadding, put cameras inside foam “pumpkins” and tried launching an ice pumpkin.  Here is the first attempt:

 

Pumpkin Launch

Look for more videos tomorrow.