Podcast: David Barkai book to chronicle the History of HPC

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David Barkai

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team catches up with special guest today, David Barkai, a 50-year veteran of HPC. David has worked in a wide variety of positions at NASA, Intel, Cray, SGI and others. His current project is writing a book to chronicle the last 50 years in HPC told from the perspective of those who were there.

The main emphasis in the book is examining the good that HPC has done in the world, which is quite the story. He’s looking at the applications that have changed the world, from  to safer and quieter cars and so on, and the system architectures that have made them possible in a decade-by-decade tour of HPC development.

  • 1970s:  Vector Processors
  • 1980s:  Multiprocessors
  • 1990s:  Massive Parallelism
  • 2000s:  Clusters and Accelerators
  • 2010s and beyond:  HPC and AI/Cloud

As David says in our interview, the top HPC systems have advanced 10-15 times faster than Moore’s Law, which is astounding. In the book he goes into detail about how the industry drove performance at such a dizzying pace. He’s still writing away and is interested in hearing about your HPC journey to help fill out the book.

Other highlights:

  • 18th caller contest: The 18th emailer to RFHPC, starting now, will receive what Dan might describe as a fantastic prize from Radio Free HPC. Send in your email entries now, and listen to the show for details. This might take a couple of weeks or it might take a couple of years.
  • Jessi: Google’s head of Quantum computing hardware resigns. John Martinis resigned after being assigned to an advisory role in the company.
  • Shahin: Discusses a paper on Coarse Grain Reconfigurable Architecture (CGRA) as a way of having performance and programmability closer to the metal. Its survey of what’s been going on in this area with FPGAs is great and may also point to what we can expect in future supercomputers.
  • Dan: plugs the Radio Free HPC Studio Products production of “Charles Babbage, his life and times.”  It’s an impressive production with chills, thrills and plenty of action. Don’t put it off, listen now. All those reviews are great for a reason!

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