[Beowulf] Is there really a need for Exascale?

Alan Louis Scheinine alscheinine at tuffmail.us
Wed Nov 28 08:18:12 PST 2012

Prentice writes:
> An even more cynical view say that the HPC vendors lobby the government 
> to believe exascale is important so the government invests in it and 
> subsidizes their R&D.

Whether a few big exaflops computer or many teraflop computers,
the computational needs exceed what is now available, yet more
computational capability runs into the problem of extreme scale
electrical power usage.  Every aspect of computers and interconnects
needs drastic reductions in power usage, so government subsidies
would be useful.  Calling this "an even more cynical view" seems
a little harsh.

Commodity mother boards are similar or equal to supercomputer
hardware.  But I wonder what will drive further improvements in
reducing power usage by several orders of magnitude.  I've heard
the suggestion that computers in cell phones will be the mass
market that leads to low-power hardware suitable for supercomputers.
But the cell phone components do not cover the same range as
supercomputer components.

What do others in the mailing list see as the trend?  Does the
development of mass-market consumer products suffice for meeting
the needs of the HPC community during this decade and the next?



  Alan Scheinine
  200 Georgann Dr., Apt. E6
  Vicksburg, MS  39180

  Email: alscheinine at tuffmail.us
  Mobile phone: 225 288 4176


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