INDUSTRY AND THE PROFESSION
While the US and China battle it out in the teraflop computing realm,
the Department of Energy's Argonne
National Laboratory is looking a bit
farther into the future. ANL has created
the Exascale Technology and Computing
Institute (ETCi), headed up by renowned
supercomputing guru Pete Beckman,
former director of the Argonne
Leadership Computing Facility.
The focus is on creating the next
generation of supercomputers that will
be 1,000 times more powerful than
China's Tianhe-1A, currently Numero
Uno in the world. Exascale machine
performance will be measured in
exaflops which are the equivalent of a
quintillion floating point operations per second. Yep, that's 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. One million trillion. Four
hundred million times the number of burgers McDonald's has sold. Fifty nine times the number of gallons of water in
the Atlantic Ocean. Pretty close to what the national debt will be in a few years. The mind boggles.
"Supercomputing architectures are rapidly changing," Beckman observed. "New technology will necessitate
transforming system software and applications to enable new scientific discovery at extreme scales. By using principles
of co-design, computer scientists and applied mathematicians, industrial partners, and the scientists using today's
supercomputers can work together to make exascale computing a reality."
Over the next 10 years, the community will work together to simultaneously address a number of daunting
technical challenges, such as developing ultra-low power designs, 3-D chip configurations, massively parallel
programming models, silicon photonics, and hybrid multicore architectures. ▲
■ An Intel high-core-count experimental chip that could
provide a path to exascale computing.
microEngineering Labs, Inc.
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