Revisiting the ‘P’ in HPC

21 June 2012

“Don’t ask me about the ‘P’ in HPC…” is something that I’ve said a lot over the last half decade. Era of Pervasive Computing

The article uses the phrase “the Era of Connected Devices”, but I like the phrase “the Internet of Things.” I won’t bother listing the “things,” but the posting was specifically focused on “sensors and devices that will monitor and sense our environments, collect data and provide timely and critical feedback.”

I like this quote: “Everything that will benefit from a connection will be connected.”

The following is something I wrote on 1 April 02009…

About the ‘P’ in HPC

HPC stands for High Performance Computing. Historically, the ‘P’ in HPC stood for “performance;” however, these days it stands for much more.

The following is my attempt to define HPC in one sentence.

HPC is a highly pervasive computing environment that
enables highly productive computing via a highly persistent
cyber-infrastructure that exploits highly parallel computing
to provide highly powerful computation.

With less than two years left in decade zero of the 21st century, HPC is really HP^6C — High Performance, Productivity, Pervasive, Persistent, Parallel, Powerful Computing.

HPC systems not only provide peta-scale computation, but they also provide powerful storage systems and, in many cases, powerful visualization systems (e.g. ASU’s Decision Theater).

HPC systems (which for the most part are hardware) need software and these days the software is way behind the hardware. In other words, today’s software is not even close to exploiting the power of HPC systems.

16.32 PetaFlOPS and Counting

18 June 2012

The June 02012 list has the Sequoia supercomputer ranked number one at 16.32 petaflops.

16.32 petaflops Jun 02012 (1.55x in 0.5 year; 55% increase)
10.51 petaflops Nov 02011 (10.2x in 3.5 years; 942% increase)
1.026 petaflops Jun 02008 ( 7.5x in 3 years; 650% increase)
0.1368 petaflops Jun 02005 (i.e. 136.8 teraflops)
teraflops 01996; gigaflops 01985; megaflops 01964

18 June 02012 (Monday):

Intel on Monday introduced a high-performance chip family called Xeon Phi, which provides a stepping stone for the company to reach the milestone of creating an exaflop computer by 2018.

The computing roadmap predicts exascale computing by 02018-02020. Intel’s Xeon Phi announcement makes it appear that the current computing roadmap will be accurate. It is possible we will have exascale computing before the end of the current decade.

It’s Possible a Technological Singularity is Approaching

18 June 2012

In Gutenberg the Geek Jeff Jarvis wrote: “Our accepted wisdom today is that the change we are experiencing is pushing us forward at lightening speed. But I’m coming to wonder whether, instead, it is happening very slowly. That is, we are only at the bare beginning of the change we will undergo and we cannot fathom its full shape and extent.” I’ve come to wonder this also and it makes me think of the approaching technological Singularity.

Speaking of the Singularity… Coming Summer 2012: The Singularity Is Near Movie Trailer

The Uncanny Valley by Masahiro Mori

12 June 2012

I find visits to the “Uncanny Valley” bothersome. I quickly recover, but I suspect the visits to the uncanny valley are going to become more frequent and increasingly bothersome.

The Uncanny Valley by Masahiro Mori in 01970. Editor’s note:
More than 40 years ago, Masahiro Mori, then a robotics professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, wrote an essay on how he envisioned people’s reactions to robots that looked and acted almost human.

Human Genome; Autonomous Vehicles; Supercomputing; SpaceX

1 June 2012

From a sociopolitical perspective the 21st century has been a dud, but ignoring that…

Human Genome Project completed in 02003; DARPA Grand Challenge successfully met in 02005; DARPA Urban Challenge successfully met in 02007; TOP500 top supercomputer tops petaflops in 02008; IBM’s Watson wins Jeopardy! in 02011; SpaceX successfully completes its first mission in 02012.

[update::02012.06.01] This posting should have included the following… Yesterday (02012.05.31) the front page of the Arizona Republic had the following headline: “U.S. broadening cyberwar strategy”. Today the New York Times has a news story titled “Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran”. My gut tells me cyberwarfare, which I think is in progress, is going to be uglier than ugly.