August 11, 2015

Update on the exaFLOP supercomputer race

The White house released a statement where they indicated the US should have an exaFLOP supercomputer in the next decade (the 2020s or it could mean by 2025).

The US is currently on track to get to an exaFLOP supercomputer by 2023.

The National Strategic Computer Initiative (NSCI), was signed by President Barack Obama in July 2015. It is an effort to build the world's first supercomputer with an exaflop of computational power.

President Obama's NSCI is an extension to existing plans announced back in November to create two pre-exascale systems being built by the Department of Energy. These two projects are already underway, and the systems being built are expected to deliver between 100-300 petaflops each. The Summit and Sierra supercomputers are expected to be completed sometime in 2017-2018.

There was also the 180 petaFLOP Aurora supercomputer targeted for 2018

China's current supercomputer is the Tianhe 2, is capable of peak 54.9 petaflops of computational power.

China is upgrading the Tianhe 2 to the Tianhe 2A in 2016 to get to 100 petaFLOPS.

China's 100PetaFLOP projects will have more than double their supercomputer investment compared the previous five year supercomputer project

– MOST (863)
– Local government

*  Tianhe-2 33.86/54.9PFlops now, 2016 ~100PFlops
*  Shenwei-x ~100PFlops

China will then have two 100 Petaflop class supercomputers.

China is targeting over 50GFlops/watt for its exascale architecture

China would be on track to an exaFLOP system in 2017 or 2018.

Japan also targeting 2020 or before for an exaFLOP supercomputer

a href="" target=blank>Japan has an exaFLOP supercomputer project targeting delivery by 2021.

Fujitsu and the Riken research center have been chosen to develop an exascale supercomputer, which at 1,000 petaflops would be about 30 times faster than the leading supercomputer today. The Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science did not specify a performance speed or other characteristics of the machine, which it is calling the FLAGSHIP 2020 Project. However, planning documents (9 pages) suggest using over 10 million CPU cores and reaching 1 exaflop. The machine is planned for April, 2021.

Fujitsu Japan should deliver a 100 petaFLOP supercomputer in 2017


The European project called Mont-Blanc has been to design a new type of computer architecture capable of setting future global HPC standards, built from energy efficient solutions used in embedded and mobile devices. They want to use the OmpSs parallel programming model to automatically exploit multiple cluster nodes, transparent application check pointing for fault tolerance, support for ARMv8 64-bit processors, and the initial design of the Mont-Blanc Exascale architecture.

Radical Optical Supercomputer

A startup company called Optalysis is trying to invent a fully-optical computer that would be aimed at many of the same tasks for which GPUs are currently used. Amazingly, Optalysis is claiming that they can create an optical solver supercomputer astonishing 17 exaFLOPS machine by 2020.

To date they have successfully built a Proof of Concept derivative processor to demonstrate the ability to process a spectral derivative function using optical technology. This function forms the basis of spectral Partial Differential Equation solvers such as those used in high-end Computational Fluid Dynamics models.

The system produced two-dimensional derivative functions. Numerical data was represented as grey-level intensities on liquid crystal SLMs and projected through the optical system using a low power laser light. The results were then converted back into digital form with a camera.

A 340 gigaflops proof-of-concept model is slated for launch in January 2015, sufficient to analyze large data sets, and produce complex model simulations in a laboratory environment, according to the company.

Unlike current supercomputers, which still use what are essentially serial processors, the Optalysys Optical Processor takes advantage of the properties of light to perform the same computations in parallel and at the speed of light

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