Fixstars Solutions Adopts Microsoft Azure to Boost Life Science Application Performance

Sunnyvale, CA — August 12th, 2014 — Fixstars Solutions Inc. today announced that it has adopted Microsoft Azure to help boost the performance of its life science application. The importance of computer simulation and analysis in life science field is growing, and some life science applications, such as Molecular Dynamic Simulation and DNA sequencing, consume a vast amount of computing resources. Building a private cluster server system only for these compute intensive applications can be complex and costly. Fixstars Solutions developed a computing platform for life science applications on Microsoft Azure, designed to provide an elastic and high performance cluster server system.

Fixstars Solutions has extensive knowledge of parallel processing technology, with a track record of numerous successful projects with hyper-scale cluster server systems. For the US Air Force Research Lab, Fixstars Solutions developed a simulation and video processing system made up of 2,016 SONY PS3® nodes. Recently, Fixstars and Mizuho Securities succeeded in accelerating derivative valuation system by 30-folds with Intel Xeon Phi® Coprocessors.

Fixstars Solutions worked closely with Microsoft to efficiently port a life science application to Microsoft Azure in three weeks. The nature of the target application is compute-intensive, and requires about 1000 CPU cores. After some initial benchmarking, it was found that the Microsoft Azure A8/A9 instances, which are optimized for high performance computing (HPC) applications, out-performed the competing cloud services, which lead to the decision to utilize Microsoft Azure. As a result of Microsoft Azure’s HPC capabilities, Fixstars Solutions was able to achieve a performance boost of more than 4-folds when compared to the software working originally on the private cluster server system.

“I am pleased to work with Microsoft to bring solutions to market that we believe will advance the life sciences field.” said Akihiro Asahara, CEO of Fixstars Solutions. “Using Microsoft Azure’s new compute intensive instances, A8 and A9, we can use a high performance cluster server system having over 1000 CPU cores available at all times.”

“The flexibility, speed and cost-saving of cloud computing has the power to accelerate crucial research in the life sciences field,” said Venkat Gattamneni, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft. “We look forward to continued work with Fixstars Solutions to boost the performance of life sciences applications using the Microsoft Azure platform.”

Fixstars Solutions will release solutions built on Microsoft Azure, and provide technical service and consulting for clients using Microsoft Azure. Not only will Fixstars aid in porting to Microsoft Azure to achieve speed-up from parallel processing, but will also aid in enhancing system availability and reducing operation costs by using Azure’s management functions made available through Microsoft Azure SDK and command-line tools.

 

About Fixstars Solutions

Fixstars Solutions is a software company devoted to “Speed up your Business”. Through its software parallelization/optimization expertise, its highly effective use of multi-core processors, and application acceleration for the next generation of memory technology that delivers high speed IO as well as power savings, Fixstars Solutions provides “Green IT,” while accelerating customers’ business in various fields. Learn more about how Fixstars Solutions can accelerate your business in life science, manufacturing, finance, and media & entertainment.
For more information, visit www.fixstars.com.

Fixstars and Mizuho Securities Succeeds in Accelerating Derivative Valuation System by 30-folds with Intel Xeon Phi Coprocessor

Mizuho Securities becomes the first Financial Institution to deploy the coprocessor in the Production Environment

TOKYO — June 2, 2014 — Fixstars Corporation today announced that Fixstars and Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd achieved a 30-folds speed-up by porting Mizuho Securities’ Derivative Valuation System to Intel’s many-core processor, “Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors”.  Mizuho Securities has become world’s first financial institution to utilize the Xeon Phi™ coprocessor in the Production Environment.

The recent low interest rates have increased the demand for structured bonds, which combines the use of bonds in conjunction with derivatives.  To meet these customer demands, Mizuho Securities had been investigating ways to efficiently perform the vast amount of computations required by their Derivative Valuation Systems, which led them to consider the use of Intel’s High-Performance Xeon Phi™ coprocessors.

Mizuho Securities, with the aid of their development partner Fixstars, succeeded in devising an algorithm to efficiently distribute the workloads across the cores of Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessor.  The Xeon Phi™ replaces an 8-core Xeon® system, which resulted in out-performing the previous system by a factor of 30.  In addition, by placing an emphasis on source-code readability, a highly maintainable system was created.

“I am happy to announce that Fixstars’ expertise in parallel processing in conjunction with Intel’s Technology had been able to improve upon Mizuho Securities’ Derivative Valuation System,” said Kosuke Hirano, Senior Executive Officer, Intel K.K.. “Intel will continue innovating with the highly parallel processing capability of Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors.”

“I am very excited that our expertise in parallel programming techniques has enabled us to aid Mizuho Securities in the deployment of the New Derivative Valuation System,” said Miki Satoshi, CEO, Fixstars. “We had been involved in the project from the researching phase on what hardware to use, and I believe the smooth progress that led to this deployment could not have occurred without the mutual, underlying trust present in the partnership between Mizuho Securities’ and Fixstars, as well as the high capability and the reliability of Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors.”

Mizuho Securities is already using the new system for Plain Vanilla Derivatives, with plans to shift to the new system this summer with Exotic Derivatives.

Fixstars will continue to speed up Mizuho Security’s business through provision of technical expertise in parallel processing.

* Intel, Xeon and Xeon Phi are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Initial Public Offering

Fixstars Corporation, a parent company of Fixstars Solutions inc., announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 100,000 shares of Class A common stock. Fixstars Corp’s Class A common stock will trade on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (Mothers) under the code “3687″ from April 23, 2014.

See more detail at http://www.tse.or.jp/english/listing/companies/index_e.html

Fixstars to Launch “FlashAir™ Developers”, a Technical Information Website Supporting App Development Using the Toshiba FlashAir SDHC Memory Card.

Supporting App Development for SDHC Memory Cards with Embedded Wireless LAN Functionality.

FlashAir Developers Website

FlashAir Developers Website

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — August 1st, 2013 — Fixstars today announces the launch of a technical information website for developers of Toshiba FlashAir apps and services: “FlashAir Developers” http://www.flashair-developers.com/

FlashAir is an SDHC memory card with embedded Wireless LAN functionality. Since FlashAir works as a stand alone Wireless LAN access point, FlashAir embedded devices are able to both send files to and receive files from each other. In addition to wireless networking, FlashAir also retains normal SD card functionality, thus storing data and allowing typical Wi-Fi devices like PCs and smartphones to access its contents.

With FlashAir, users will be able to browse photos in a digital camera from a smartphone wirelessly, as well as download their favorite photos to any networked device, such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

flashair_device_connection_example

How to use the FlashAir

The FlashAir Developers website provides API information for browsing files on FlashAir cards from typical Wi-Fi devices like PCs and smartphones, as well as providing app development tutorials, sample code, and support information with a FAQ and forum.  By using the APIs from the FlashAir Developers website, app developers will be able to develop apps that work with FlashAir for free.

“I am very pleased to provide the FlashAir API to all potential app developers through the Fixstars Solutions FlashAir Developers Website,” said Hiroto Nakai, Senior Manager, Flash Business Strategy Development, Memory Division, Toshiba Corporation Semiconductor & Storage Products Company. “On one hand, FlashAir is essentially an SDHC memory card with Wireless LAN. However it’s ideally suited to so much more than just digital cameras. I am expecting imaginative solutions to come from the developers who use the FlashAir Developers website.”

“I am very excited to support app developers through the FlashAir Developers website,” said Satoshi Miki, CEO, Fixstars Corporation. “We have been operating developer websites for various platforms and providing valuable support to a large number of software developers. Utilizing this resource, we hope to nurture FlashAir to become a platform for advanced devices and services.”

The FlashAir Developers website is operated by Fixstars in cooperation with Toshiba Corporation.

Additional Resources

The Toshiba FlashAir Product Information:

About Fixstars

Fixstars is a software company devoted to “Speed up your Business”. Through its software parallelization/optimization expertise, its highly effective use of multi-core processors, and application acceleration for the next generation of memory technology that delivers high speed IO as well as power savings, Fixstars provides “Green IT,” while accelerating customers’ business in various fields.  Learn more about how Fixstars can accelerate your business in medical imaging, manufacturing, finance, and media & entertainment.

For more information, visit www.fixstars.com.

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Geometric Performance Primitives, the world’s fastest multi-core geometry engine

Fixstars is pleased to announce the immediate release of its Geometric Performance Primitives library (GPP), the world’s fastest multi-core geometry engine.

With computational geometry tasks so important and currently established routines so inefficient, the GPP library stands to make dramatic improvements to the EDA and GIS communities. Early testing on parallelized GPU systems shows up to 25 times faster performance than reference CPUs. In addition to advanced parallelism, flexible hardware targeting, and support for boolean operations, snap rounding, and polygon relations, GPP places no artificial limits on data size, performs overlay analysis and geometry-on-geometry checks on all-angle geometry, and allows up to 53-bit coordinates.

GPP is available now. For more information, please visit our web site or contact us.

Fixstars M³ Platform meets ALTERA FPGA

Overview of Software Stack of this demo
SALT LAKE CITY, November 12, 2012 -Fixstars Solutions, Inc. is pleased to announce that its image processing demo running on ALTERA’s latest Stratix V FPGA board is showing at Super Computing 2012.

With a port of several image processing routines using ALTERA’s OpenCL tools, Fixstars demonstrates the power and flexibility of its flagship optimization platform, M³, modified to take full advantage of the new Stratix V FPGA board. Combined, Fixstars M³ and ALTERA’s OpenCL dramatically simplify development, maximizing parallelization and minimizing time to market in applications such as medical imaging, inspection devices, surveillance systems, and media encoder/decoder products.

The most exciting international conference for high performance computing, SC gathers the best and brightest minds in supercomputing. Please join Fixstars Solutions at the ALTERA booth, #430 near the main entrance of the Salt Palace Convention Center, to experience the iPad high performance computing demonstration with M³ and the Stratix V FGPA.

For more information, please visit our web site or contact us.

Fixstars Achieves 50X Acceleration in Rendering Massive Particle CG Scene Using Violin Memory’s Violin 6616 Flash Memory Array

Solution Takes Advantage of Multi-Core Processing and Multi-Node Development Environments to Deliver Speed and Cost Improvements in Rendering Complex Images

SIGGRAPH 2012, Los Angeles, August 7, 2012 — Fixstars Solutions, the leader in multi-core software solutions, today announced it has achieved a 50X speed increase in rendering a massive particle computer graphics (CG) scene by utilizing Fixstars’ “lucille” global illumination renderer and the newest Violin 6616 Flash Memory Array from Violin Memory. The stunning results were accomplished through the combination of lucille’s superior parallel processing performance and the industry’s fastest I/O throughput provided by the Violin 6616.

Particle dynamics are an essential component of high quality CG production, enabling the execution of complex and realistically rendered natural phenomena, such as flames, explosions, smoke, splashes, mist, and hair. However, rendering particles typically requires large data sets and random storage access. In that case, the I/O speed of data storage represents a bottleneck for traditional storage solutions, which are typically composed of numerous hard disk drives (HDDs).

Watch larger video

Violin 6000 series

Violin Memory’s Violin 6616 Flash Memory Array, which is a storage solution configured entirely from Toshiba NAND flash memory, enables faster data read-and-write times compared to traditional HDD storage systems, since it has no moving parts. Fixstars’ tests confirmed that the Violin 6616 yielded 50 times faster processing speeds than traditional HDD based solutions for rendering large data sets. CG companies can replace traditional racks of multiple HDDs  with Violin Flash Memory Arrays which can yield significant savings in rendering times computation costs and storage footprint.

Fixstars’ lucille has an enormous speed and compatibility advantages over other ray tracing renderers, since it is highly optimized to take advantage of the inherent advanced performance capabilitiesof multi-core processors and multi-node environments. The particle generation simulations were achieved by making maximum use of 4 nodes with 32 cores of 64 threaded to achieve this level of high speed performance. Similarly, the Violin 6616 provides superior performance in multi-core environments, achieving low overhead and high data rates per CPU cycle. During the simulations, the Violin 6616 sustained lucille’s high computation speed, even when comparing single vs.16 compute threads, confirming Fixstars’ view that the combination of lucille and Violin 6616 represents the perfect solution for rendering large data sets, such as dynamic particle simulations.

Don Basile, CEO of Violin Memory commented, “We are pleased to enable Fixstars set a new performance standard with their “lucille” global illumination renderer application by making the move to Violin Flash Memory Arrays that allow the full power of the application to be realized rather than being held back by legacy disk array technologies.”

“With Toshiba’s NAND flash memory chips powering all Violin Flash Memory Arrays, technology companies are able to take full advantage of the capabilities that solid state storage can deliver,” said George Bouchaya, vice president and chief technology officer at the Institute of Strategic Storage Planning and Investment of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. “Twenty-five years after inventing NAND flash, Toshiba continues to drive flash innovation forward, and it’s exciting to see solutions like the Fixstars/Violin rendering system come to life.”

Scott Frankel, lucille Product Manager at Fixstars Corporation commented, “The Violin Memory’s Violin 6616 represents an enormous step forward in performance data storage. Working hand in hand with the parallel processing capabilities of Fixstars’ lucille global illumination renderer, these two innovative products open the door to new horizons in computer graphics rendering.”

Fixstars is demonstrating the high speed particle rendering at SIGGRAPH 2012, August  7th to 9th in Los Angeles, with Violin Memory and Toshiba, who developed the NAND flash memory embedded in the Violin 6616. To see us at the SIGGRAPH, please visit booth #761. If you have any inquiry or would like to make an appointment, please contact us at the following e-mail address or telephone number,.

 

Fixstars Releases M-Cubed® Platform for Accelerated Processing and Efficient Programming for Multi-Core, Multi-Node, Multi-Architecture Environments

UNNATURALLY FAST PROCESSING: OPTIMIZING APPLICATION PERFORMANCE

M³ logo

SUNNYVALE, CA. August 6, 2012 - Although parallel processing was viewed as the solution for high-volume computational applications, the volume of data and demand for real-time output are now posing new problems with complexity of code, portability and energy consumption.  Fixstars, a global leader in multi-core software development offers a solution to this dilemma with the North American launch of M³(M-Cubed). This new software development platform reduces development time, and increases processing performance for multi-core, multi-node, multi-architecture environments.

Nagayoshi Kobayashi, ISV Enabling Manager, Intel Japan  on the release of M³, “The latest Intel processor has the capability to manage 20 threads in one chip. The M³ platform is a unique approach to improve the processing speed of software working on such many core devices. We are looking forward to future development of M³.”

While parallel processing is the answer to the need for Big Data applications, parallel programming is significantly more difficult than sequential programming, and many applications fall short of taking full advantage of their hardware environments.  Satoshi Miki, Chief Executive Office of Fixstars said, “With every release of new hardware to the market, the ability for software developers to quickly respond to and take advantage of hardware innovations has become a key competitive advantage.”

M³ Software Architecture

Since 2002, Fixstars has helped clients dramatically improve computing performance with software development, and optimization of various hardware environments such as NVIDIA / ATI GPU, ARM SoC , and Intel / AMD x86.  Fixstars has recognized the need for a platform to help developers focus on building software applications without needing to code for every specific hardware type.  The result is M³, offering a highly efficient development process producing highly optimized and portable software applications.

The demand for efficient real-time data processing and Big Data management in fields such as medical image processing, bioinformatics, computer vision, financial model simulations, and computer generated (CG) rendering will continue to grow. Satoshi Miki remarked, “There have been advances in compiler technology, but none have ever been able to meet the needs of our clients. With the release of M-Cubed, I believe that the age of software performance being handcuffed by hardware will soon come to an end.”

Learn more about about M³ at, http://www.fixstars.com/en/m-cubed/

Fixstars and Codeplay Team Up to Promote OpenCL Development in Japan

Software-acceleration and parallel processing leaders to deliver services supporting open, portable multi-processor programming framework.

 

Tokyo, Japan, March 5, 2012- Fixstars Corporation, the leading company in multi-core software solutions, and Codeplay Software Ltd., the expert in high-performance compilers and software optimization for graphics and multi-core processing, today announced a new business partnership to deliver Open Computing Language (OpenCL) software development and consulting services to Japanese firms and research laboratories.

OpenCL is a parallel computing framework for programming heterogeneous systems containing devices such as multi-core processors, Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), or Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E™) processors. With its multi-dimensional computation domain, multi-kernel execution and standard language specification, OpenCL is attracting attention as an efficient and portable open technology for software development.

By partnering together, Fixstars and Codeplay will promote adoption of OpenCL among application developer communities as well as semiconductor designers. Using OpenCL-compatible software, middleware and compilers delivered through this partnership, customers will benefit from a high-performance, portable software foundation on which to create competitive new products.

“Fixstars has presence in the Japanese market, and great software expertise, that will help deliver our acceleration technologies to an even larger audience,” said Andrew Richards, CEO and founder of Codeplay. “OpenCL is set to become an extremely important framework enabling developers to achieve a significant performance edge in next-generation product designs.”

“OpenCL is a comprehensive, open framework for heterogeneous parallel processing, and is the result of deep cooperation between industry-leading companies in the OpenCL working group,” added Neil Trevett, vice president mobile content of NVIDIA and president of The Khronos Group, the industry consortium responsible for creating OpenCL and other open compute and graphics standards. “I am delighted to see Codeplay and Fixstars, who are both experienced working group members, combining their expertise to nurture the OpenCL developer community in Japan.”

“I am pleased to be partnering with a company of Codeplay’s standing to help Japan’s developers increase application performance and future-proof new designs using OpenCL.” said Satoshi Miki, CEO and founder of Fixstars. “As multi-core hardware continues to evolve quickly, challenging manufacturers to select a suitable hardware platform for the longer term, the portability of software will become increasingly important and valuable. Working together, I am sure that we will make OpenCL the chosen programming framework for Japanese companies seeking the best possible performance and flexibility.”


About Codeplay

Codeplay are global experts in advanced optimizing technologies, compilers and programmable graphics. The company has been providing acceleration solutions that optimize performance for graphics semiconductor designers and AAA game developers since 1999. In the semiconductor sector, Codeplay partners with leading chip manufacturers, such as AGEIA, Qualcomm and Movidius, helping them to exploit the full potential of their chipsets and accelerate time-to-market. Codeplay’s high performance C/C++ compiler technology enables GPU product managers to bring breakthrough new technologies to their graphics processors, significantly reducing development time, costs and risks. The company’s compiler testing technologies enable the rapid testing of new compilers and languages, such as OpenCL and shader languages. Codeplay’s expert compiler developers bring many years of experience to the toughest optimization and development projects. For more information, visit www.codeplay.com/.