Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications
HPC Matters is a joint blog consisting of contributors from the Tabor Communications team on their observations and insights into HPC matters.
June 05, 2008
Wile E. Coyote is doomed. Hanging in space, he is about to fall, and everyone knows it but him. We all saw it coming. Poor Coyote.
Yet strangely, he doesn't fall right away. According to the alternate-reality rules of cartoon physics, the Coyote must first look down and realize he is standing in thin air. He then has time to gather his thoughts, issue a final desperate wave, and then finally -- poof! -- he plummets body first, leaving his head in the frame for the viewers to witness a comical last-second grimace before that too disappears.
Know what else we saw coming? The crash in HPC application performance that is being brought about by the transition to multicore processors. We've been watching the race, as applications (Codus productivus) desperately chased processors (Waferii siliconium) up the performance mountain. Suddenly multicore came and -- meep! meep! -- the CPUs put on a burst of speed and zoomed around a bend, leaving application software headed for a cliff. HPC users were doomed. Everyone knew it. Poor users.
What's this? Application performance hasn't dramatically suffered? Users are satisfied with the performance they're getting? How is this possible? The answer: cartoon physics.
According to our most recent research, the reason performance hasn't plummeted is that users haven't been forced to deal with the problem yet. Rather than introducing a new level of parallelism at the socket level, most users have responded by running separate jobs on each core. Sure, they're buying a lot more memory to do that -- configured memory per core is staying relatively stable, and therefore configured memory per socket is skyrocketing -- but at least the application is scaling. For now.
We've gone off a cliff; we just don't know it yet. Because those cores aren't getting any faster, we're soon going to come to grips with the reality that new tools or programming models are needed in order to keep up the race. Look down, everybody. The ground isn't there. Now is the time to hold up a little "Oh, no!" sign and wave to the camera.
This is going to hurt, but fear not. The Coyote is resilient, and he always comes up with a new scheme. Soon he'll be back in the race and chasing right behind the Road Runner again.
The ISC conference in Dresden is coming up, and the new things I'll most want to see are tools for improving application performance yield in large-scale, multicore systems. Acme Application Optimizers, anyone?
Posted by Addison Snell - June 04, 2008 @ 9:00 PM, Pacific Daylight Time
Addison Snell is the CEO of Intersect360 Research and a veteran of the high performance computing industry. During his tenure, he has established Intersect360 Research as a premier source of market information, analysis and consulting.
No Recent Blog Comments
In quieter times, sounding the bell of funding big science with big systems tends to resonate further than when ears are already burning with sour economic and national security news. For exascale's future, however, the time could be ripe to instill some sense of urgency....
In a recent solicitation, the NSF laid out needs for furthering its scientific and engineering infrastructure with new tools to go beyond top performance, Having already delivered systems like Stampede and Blue Waters, they're turning an eye to solving data-intensive challenges. We spoke with the agency's Irene Qualters and Barry Schneider about..
Large-scale, worldwide scientific initiatives rely on some cloud-based system to both coordinate efforts and manage computational efforts at peak times that cannot be contained within the combined in-house HPC resources. Last week at Google I/O, Brookhaven National Lab’s Sergey Panitkin discussed the role of the Google Compute Engine in providing computational support to ATLAS, a detector of high-energy particles at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
May 23, 2013 |
The study of climate change is one of those scientific problems where it is almost essential to model the entire Earth to attain accurate results and make worthwhile predictions. In an attempt to make climate science more accessible to smaller research facilities, NASA introduced what they call ‘Climate in a Box,’ a system they note acts as a desktop supercomputer.
May 22, 2013 |
At some point in the not-too-distant future, building powerful, miniature computing systems will be considered a hobby for high schoolers, just as robotics or even Lego-building are today. That could be made possible through recent advancements made with the Raspberry Pi computers.
May 16, 2013 |
When it comes to cloud, long distances mean unacceptably high latencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany examined those latency issues of doing CFD modeling in the cloud by utilizing a common CFD and its utilization in HPC instance types including both CPU and GPU cores of Amazon EC2.
May 15, 2013 |
Supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) have worked on important computational problems such as collapse of the atomic state, the optimization of chemical catalysts, and now modeling popping bubbles.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
In this demonstration of SGI DMF ZeroWatt disk solution, Dr. Eng Lim Goh, SGI CTO, discusses a function of SGI DMF software to reduce costs and power consumption in an exascale (Big Data) storage datacenter.
The Cray CS300-AC cluster supercomputer offers energy efficient, air-cooled design based on modular, industry-standard platforms featuring the latest processor and network technologies and a wide range of datacenter cooling requirements.