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May 03, 2010

Exaflop Supercomputer Race

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On 23 March 2010, Forschungszentrum Jülich and IBM signed the contract for a joint "Exascale Innovation Center" (EIC). EIC will develop hardware and software for an exascale supercomputer by the end of 2019. According to the schedule, a prototype of the new exascale supercomputer is expected to be available in 2015. Five scientists from the IBM development laboratory in Böblingen and five scientists from Jülich will be collaborating with a team of scientists at the IBM Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights. The goal is to install an exascale-class system in Jülich by 2019. The supercomputer QPACE (developed by IBM and Julich) was declared the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputer in November, 2009. Further challenges are the development of the chip and processor technology towards the exascale level with respect to hardware and the improvement of algorithms with respect to software in order to run and use a supercomputer of this size. QPACE has 26 peak teraflops and uses 35 KW of power and is based on cell processors. This is about ten times more power efficient as other supercomputers.

Intel Also Funding Exascale Work
Bill Camp, the Chief Supercomputing Architect at Intel refers to himself as Mr. Exascale at Intel, and his thinking goes all the way from transistors to software. In this podcast conversation, recorded on the show floor during SC09 in Portland, Bill talks about the challenges of getting to exascale, the relationship of exascale technologies to commodity processing, and much more. Is Intel thinking about a return to specialized chips for extreme scale supercomputing?

FURTHER READING
China developed a supercomputer with a peak compute power over one petaflop in 2009
Exascale computer research activity is discussed here


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