Saturday, March 01, 2008

Exascale computing

I don't have a whole lot new to say on this topic right now. Earlier comments are here. To recap, "petascale" refers to computers capable of doing 1015 arithmetic operations ("flops") per second. Such computers already exist. The next main step is "exascale" – computers 1000 times as fast, capable of doing 1018 operations per second. Such computers don't exist yet – but people are already starting to work towards this goal.

One Million Trillion 'Flops' Per Second Targeted
Preparing groundwork for an exascale computer is the mission of the new Institute for Advanced Architectures, launched jointly at Sandia and Oak Ridge national laboratories. ...

The idea behind the institute —under consideration for a year and a half prior to its opening — is “to close critical gaps between theoretical peak performance and actual performance on current supercomputers,” says Sandia project lead Sudip Dosanjh. “We believe this can be done by developing novel and innovative computer architectures.”

Ultrafast supercomputers improve detection of real-world conditions by helping researchers more closely examine the interactions of larger numbers of particles over time periods divided into smaller segments.

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