[Beowulf] Is there really a need for Exascale?

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Thu Nov 29 16:46:22 PST 2012


On Nov 29, 2012, at 3:47 PM, Eugen Leitl wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 02:19:26PM +0000, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
>>
>>
>> On 11/28/12 11:46 PM, "Eugen Leitl" <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
>>
>>> On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 01:14:39AM -0500, Mark Hahn wrote:
>>>
>>> I've been waiting for cache to die and be substituted by
>>> on-die SRAM or MRAM. Yet to happen, but if it happens,
>>> it will be with embedded-like systems.
>>
>>
>> When running, SRAM consumes a lot more power and space than almost  
>> any
>> kind of DRAM.  2-4 transistors per cell vs 1, if nothing else.
>
> Yes, but we're talking cache. Cache is SRAM with extra logic.

Correct, the L3 caches of most CPU's are simply SRAM.

> Even a cache hit is slower than it would take to access on-die
> SRAM. Cache coherency doesn't scale due to relativistically
> constrained signalling. There also cannot be any such thing
> as a global memory, unless you want it to be slow and spend
> a lot of silicon real estate to make multiple writes to the
> same location consistent.
>
>> A big problem is that the CMOS process for dense, low power, fast  
>> RAM is
>> different than what you want to use for a CPU. And even between  
>> DRAM and
>> SRAM there's a pretty big difference. (trenches, etc.)
>
> This is why we need stacked memories. Notice that MRAM might be  
> compatible
> with CPU fabbing processes. ST-MRAM
> http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9233516/ 
> Everspin_ships_first_ST_MRAM_memory_with_500X_performance_of_flash
> should have very good scaling in terms of performance and power
> dissipation and can potentially be fabricated on top of an
> ordinary CPU core http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~cart/publications/ 
> tr01-36.pdf
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