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Compilers and More: Is Amdahl’s Law Still Relevant?

Jan 22, 2015 |

From time to time, you will read an article or hear a presentation that states that some new architectural feature or some new programming strategy will let you work around the limits imposed by Amdahl’s Law. I think it’s time to finally shut down the discussion of Amdahl’s Law. Here I argue that the premise Read more…

Helping Experimental Scientists Take Supercomputers to the Max

Dec 30, 2014 |

Doug Baxter is a capability lead for the Molecular Science Computing Facility in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He and his team are responsible for the software side of the operation, and they help experimental scientists get the most out of EMSL’s supercomputing resources. The facility is the home Read more…

Combustion Simulation in the Exascale Era

Nov 13, 2014 |

One of the many excellent sessions at SC14 will address how the twin technologies of HPC and big data are coalescing to enable major scientific breakthroughs in the field of turbulent combustion. As part of the SC14 Technical Program, Jacqueline H. Chen, a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at the Combustion Research Facility at Sandia National Laboratories, Read more…

The Exascale Revolution

Oct 23, 2014 |

The post-petascale era is marked by systems with far greater parallelism and architectural complexity. Failing some game-changing innovation, crossing the next 1000x performance barrier will be more challenging than previous efforts. At the 2014 Argonne National Laboratory Training Program on Extreme Scale Computing (ATPESC), held in August, Professor Pete Beckman delivered a talk on “Exascale Architecture Trends” and their impact on the programming and executing of computational Read more…

New Degrees of Parallelism, Old Programming Planes

Aug 28, 2014 |

Exploiting the capabilities of HPC hardware is now more a matter of pushing into deeper levels of parallelism versus adding more cores or overclocking. What this means is that the time is right for a revolution in programming. The question is whether that revolution should be one that torches the landscape or that handles things Read more…

Short Takes

The Case for a Parallel Programming Alternative

Jul 2, 2014 |

Cray engineers have been working on a new parallel computing language, called Chapel. Aimed at large-scale parallel computing environments, Chapel was designed with a focus on productivity and accessibility. The project originated from the DARPA High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program, which challenged HPC vendors to improve the productivity of high-end computing systems. To explain Read more…

Programmability Matters

Jun 30, 2014 |

While discussions of HPC architectures have long centered on performance gains, that is not the only measure of success, according to Petteri Laakso of Vector Fabrics. Spurred by ever-proliferating core counts, programmability is taking on new prominence. Vector Fabrics is a Netherlands-based company that specializes in multicore software parallelization tools, so programmability is high on Read more…

An Easier, Faster Programming Language?

Jun 18, 2014 |

The HPC community has turned out supercomputers surpassing tens of petaflops of computing power by stringing together thousands of multicore processors, often in tandem with accelerators like NVIDIA GPUs and Intel Phi coprocessors. Of course, these multi-million dollar systems are only as useful as the programs that run on them, and developing applications that can Read more…

Internship Program Fosters HPC Talent

May 21, 2014 |

One of the most pressing concerns in HPC circles continues to be a lack of qualified entrants to the field. Not to say there isn’t talent — the popularity and success of the student cluster challenges attest to that — but it’s not enough to span the gap. That’s why efforts to facilitate this unique skill Read more…

Evolving Exascale Applications Via Graphs

Apr 29, 2014 |

There is little point to building expensive exaflop-class computing machines if applications are not available to exploit the tremendous scale and parallelism. Consider that exaflop-class supercomputers will exhibit billion-way parallelism, and that calculations will be restricted by energy consumption, heat generation, and data movement. This level of complexity is sufficient to stymy application development, which Read more…

Off the Wire