SC12 Home > SC12 Schedule > SC12 Presentation - A Journey to Exascale Computing

SCHEDULE: NOV 10-16, 2012

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A Journey to Exascale Computing

SESSION: Thinking about the Future of Large-Scale Computing

EVENT TYPE: Keynote and Invited Talks

TIME: 8:30AM - 9:15AM

SESSION CHAIR: Bronis R. de Supinski

Speaker(s):William J. Harrod


Exascale computing is a shared international pursuit aimed at creating a new class of high performance computing systems that can achieve a thousand times the sustained performance of todays petascale computers while limiting growth in space and power requirements. Although the primary goal of this pursuit is to develop leading edge computing assets for new scientific discovery, medical science, climate modeling, and other compute- and data-intensive applications, the resulting technologies will have a profound impact on all future computing systems down to laptops and handheld devices. Computing is now at a critical crossroads. We can no longer proceed down the path of steady but incremental progress to which we have become accustomed. Thus, exascale computing is not simply an effort to provide the next level of computational power by creative scaling up of current petascale computing systems. New architectures will be required to achieve the exascale computing goals. Although there are many daunting challenges, which have been identified and extensively examined in numerous previous studies, past and ongoing pilot projects have indicated the feasibility of achieving the exascale goals. However, development of exascale technology is not just a hardware problem. A significant investment in system software, programming models, and applications algorithms and codes is required as well. While there are different interpretations of the specific system details for an exascale computer, there is fundamental agreement concerning the challenges and general design features. The pioneering generation of exascale computers will likely consist of heterogeneous processors that have thousands of computing elements per processor. Data movement can no longer be considered a free operation, as it drives power consumption across the system. Resiliency will also be a significant concern. The potential complexity of the system could be a significant challenge for achieving highly programmable computers. Industry will not be able to achieve these goals without substantial governmental investment. The realization of exascale computing systems and technology rests on partnerships among academia, industry, and government institutions, and on international collaboration. This presentation will focus on the strategy and plans for developing and deploying energy efficient, highly programmable exascale computers by the early 2020s. Various challenges will be discussed, including, technical, programmatic, and policy issues.

Speaker Details:

Bronis R. de Supinski (Chair) - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

William J. Harrod - DOE Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research

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