“Today, the fastest supercomputers perform about 10^15 arithmetic operations per second and are thus described as petascale systems. However, developers and scientists from supercomputing centres and industry are already planning the route to exascale systems, which are about one thousand times faster than present supercomputers. In order to achieve this kind of performance, amongst other aspects, several million processor cores have to be synchronized and new storage technologies developed. The reliability of the components must be guaranteed and a key factor is the reduction of energy consumption.”
“As discussed in previous articles in this series, there are (at least) three ways in which Governments are forcing the pace of technological development. One is by international research cooperation – usually on projects that do not have an immediate commercial product as their end-goal. A second is by funding commercial companies to conduct technological research – and thus subsidising, at taxpayers’ expense, the creation or strengthening of technical expertise within commercial companies. The third is subsidy by the back door, through military and civil procurement contracts.”
“For those who haven’t been following the details of one of DOE’s more recent procurement rounds, the NERSC-8 and Trinity request for proposals (RFP) explicitly required that all vendor proposals include a burst buffer to address the capability of multi-petaflop simulations to dump tremendous amounts of data in very short order. The target use case is for petascale checkpoint-restart, where the memory of thousands of nodes (hundreds of terabytes of data) needs to be flushed to disk in an amount of time that doesn’t dominate the overall execution time of the calculation.”
On June 22, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) signed an agreement to collaborate on exascale supercomputing technologies for the scientific community. In a nutshell, the plan is to build a common OS kernel that can be used by all post-petascale systems, regardless of hardware eccentricities.
In this video from ISC’14, the DEEP and DEEP-ER Project teams describe their prototype hardware and software. “The DEEP consortium will develop a novel, Exascale-enabling supercomputing architecture with a matching SW stack and a set of optimized grand-challenge simulation applications. DEEP takes the concept of compute acceleration to a new level: instead of adding accelerator cards to Cluster nodes, an accelerator Cluster, called Booster, will complement a conventional HPC system and increase its compute performance.”
Thomas Lippert from the Jülich Supercomputing Centre writes that the DEEP project for exascale research is pushing the limits when it comes to programming models. “In the last couple of weeks DEEP has gone through a very exciting phase – basically the ultimate baptism of fire for our concept: The new hardware has first come to life.”
“In this session we will discuss technologies recently announced by NVIDIA and how they help address key HPC challenges such as energy efficiency to get closer to achieving Exascale. We will also discuss the use of HPC in Brazil and how Brazil compares and can learn from the experience of other BRIC countries.”