Sunday, November 18, 2012

Supercomputing Increments Towards the Exaflop Era

The November 2012 biannual list of the world’s fastest supercomputers shows the winner incrementally improving over the last measure. The Titan (a Cray XK7, Opteron 6274 16C 2.200GHz, Cray Gemini interconnect, NVIDIA K20x) is leading with 17.6 petaflops per second of maximum processing power. This was only an 8% increase in maximum processing speed as compared to other recent increases of 30-60%, but a continued step forward in computing power.

Supercomputers are used for a variety of complicated modeling problems where simultaneous processing is helpful such as weather modeling, quantum physics, and predicting degradation in nuclear weapons arsenals.

Figure 1. World's Fastest Supercomputers. (Source)
Increasingly, supercomputing is being seen as just one category of big data computing along with cloud-based server farms running simple algorithms over large data corpuses (for example Google’s cat image recognition project), crowd-based distributed computing networks (e.g.; protein Folding@home with 5 petaflops of computing power, and crowdsourced labor networks (e.g.; Mechanical Turk, oDesk, CrowdFlower - theoretically comprising 7 billion Turing test-passing online agents).

blog comments powered by Disqus