Multicore NZ

November 6, 2009

Exaflop Computing

Filed under: High Performance Computing, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 9:13 pm

The SC’09 will be next week in Portland, Oregon, USA.

“SC09 has adopted the theme of “Computing for a Changing World,” and will present world renowned speakers on initiatives related to Sustainability, Bio-Computing and the 3D Internet.”

“Over the next 5 years we expect the extended SC community to play an important role in leading the mainstream of computing into an era of parallelism. ”


Some of the abstracts of the keynotes at SC’09 are particularly interesting

The Rise of the 3D Internet – Intel CTO, Justin Rattner

“Forty Exabytes of unique data will be generated worldwide in 2009. This data can help us understand scientific and engineering phenomenon as well as operational trends in business and finance. The best way to understand, navigate and communicate these phenomena is through visualization. In his opening address, Intel CTO Justin Rattner will talk about today’s data deluge and how high performance computing is being used to deliver cutting edge, 3D collaborative visualizations. He will also discuss how the 2D Internet started and draw parallels to the rise of the 3D Internet today. With the help of demonstrations, he will show how rich visualization of scientific data is being used for discovery, collaboration and education.”

A couple of other presentations caught my attention (apart from Al Gore and his view on climate change 🙂

HPC and the Challenge of Achieving a Twenty-Fold Increase in Wind Energy

The Outlook for Energy: Enabled with Supercomputing

“The presentation reviews ExxonMobil’s global energy outlook through 2030. The projections indicate that, at that time, the world’s population will be ~8 billion, roughly 25% higher than today. Along with this population rise will be continuing economic growth. This combination of population and economic growth will increase energy demand by over 50% versus 2000. As demand rises, the pace of technology improvement is likely to accelerate, reflecting the development and deployment of new technologies for obtaining energy–to include finding and producing oil and natural gas. Effective technology solutions to the energy challenges before us will naturally rely on modeling complicated processes and that in turn will lead to a strong need for super computing. Two examples of the supercomputing need in the oil business, seismic approaches for finding petroleum and petroleum reservoir fluid-flow modeling (also known as “reservoir simulation”) will be discussed in the presentation.”


An interesting way to put all these ideas in a less “marketing driven” context is to read the interview with Rick Stevens from Argonne, about “reaching the next milestone in computing history: the exaflops computer.”

I tried to summarise the article, but actually it’s simply better that you go through it and have a glimpse of the future of Supercomputing, which soon (10 years?) won’t be supercomputing but just computing.

So, what’s exaflops?

FLOPS = In computing, FLOPS (or flops or flop/s) is an acronym meaning FLoating point Operations Per Second. The FLOPS is a measure of a computer‘s performance, especially in fields of scientific calculations that make heavy use of floating point calculations, similar to the older, simpler, instructions per second. (Wikipedia)

exaFLOPS = 10^18 = 1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 operations per second.


That’s why Rattner is so excited about 3D internet and other applications.  In this very good interview, he starts by saying that 3D internet is where HPC “goes consumer.”

The article from HPC wire has a good history of HPC and different players, and finishes quoting Rattner saying:  “If the 3D, immersive experience becomes the dominant metaphor for how people experience the internet of tomorrow, we won’t have to worry about who will build the processors and computers that do HPC. Everyone will want to be a part of that.”


Are you planning to be “part of that”?


Nicolás Erdödy

North Otago, New Zealand


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