A Contributed Article by Alexey Komkov, Deputy General Director of Products and Technology, T-Platforms
The Concept of HPC development based on exascale-level supercomputer technology identifies the main evolution direction of the HPC industry in the years 2012-2020. The basis for this Concept is the result of the work performed by Rosatom State Corporation in cooperation with high-tech industries enterprises, as well as Russia’s leading scientific and educational centers. The Concept reflects the key proposals of major participants in the global HPC community concerning the need for and feasibility of creating computing systems of the next generation. Implementation of this concept should ensure technological breakthroughs in a number of strategically important sectors of the economy, including energy, nuclear physics, satellite navigation and communications, medicine and pharmaceuticals, as well as exploration.
Over the last 10-12 years, the performance of supercomputers has increased more than 1,000 times, and analysts say it can overcome the1 Exaflop barrier (1018 operations per second) already by 2018-2020. However, you can not ignore a number of constraints. They are mostly related to issues of systems’ power consumption, reliability and structural envelope. In this regard, exaflop-level computing clusters are expected to be built using hybrid architectures. All the work within the framework of the Concept is supposed to be performed in three phases including the development of supercomputers with a processing capacity of 10 Pflops and 100 Pflops by 2015 and 2017 respectively. Completion of the third phase, in which a system will be developed with a capacity of 1 Exaflop, is scheduled for 2020. The system will be built using processors with more than 100 cores, and its power consumption will be not less than 50MW. There is a plan within the Concept framework to develop a range of new technologies and high-tech solutions – including a new processor, a system of liquid cooling based on hot water flows, as well as system software and the environment for programming and cluster management. Dedicated application software will allow the new system to perform complex modeling of various processes on the basis of the latest techniques. In the process, our company, being one of the Concept developers, will create hardware and software systems and ensure their further development, including supercomputer monitoring and administration systems. Other partners involved in the Concept implementation will assume the development of programming environments.