Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications
October 03, 2012
With just six weeks to go until the Election Day in the US, it's worth considering if the results will have any impact on the path of high performance computing. Our friends at The Exascale Report must have wondered too, and asked some of their readers for their take on the politics of HPC.
The specific question posed was: "Will the U.S. presidential election have an impact on HPC and exascale?" More than a third (38 percent) said no. The comments from that side suggested that while Presidential leadership is important, the makeup of the Congress will be the determining factor, given that's the place where the money gets allocated. One anonymous commenter offered this:
“The problem is deeper than the agenda of either presidential candidate. The problem comes from the lack of congressional commitment to very difficult and long-term research, and the fact that the science and technology leadership fails to connect the dots and recognize that economic recovery could very well be fueled by HPC innovation.”
HPC and technology innovation, in general, is a Mom-and-apple-pie issue across the political spectrum, but when it comes actually allocating hundreds of millions or billions of dollars to a program, everyone tightens their fist.
The current aversion to deficit spending by the government is working to destabilize programs. One respondent noted that their federally-funded research organization has been without a real budget for three years, and lives quarter to quarter. According to him/her, "We spend as much time preparing justification reports and fighting for survival as we do actually trying to advance scientific research."
As far as federal support for exascale, that's even more problematic, as it requires educating policymakers on its value and involves a commitment of billions of dollars per year. Of course, there are reasonable people that question the cost and effort required to build these leading-edge machines (see Too Big to FLOP), but the larger issue is whether increased HPC allocations of any kind can be sustained in this deficit-averse political climate.
It's interesting to note that 62 percent of the respondents did believe the upcoming presidential election could have an impact on HPC and exascale support. The last time a US President spent any political capital to push a big, non-defense science and technology program was back in the 60s, when John Kennedy advocated putting a man on the Moon. Given the current political circumstances, to expect presidential leadership on the HPC and exascale front seems like wishful thinking.
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).
The Xeon Phi coprocessor might be the new kid on the high performance block, but out of all first-rate kickers of the Intel tires, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) got the first real jab with its new top ten Stampede system.We talk with the center's Karl Schultz about the challenges of programming for Phi--but more specifically, the optimization...
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.