Scientific Computing on Supercomputers III

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Direct matrix solver. Iterative matrix solvers. BASPL: graphics system. Fundamental remarks. Application: distribution of electrical contacts. The physical problem. Numerical results. Numerical procedures. Matrix diagonalization. The recursive method. Iterative solution of the self-consistent matrix. Simple iterations. Mixing procedures. An improved iteration scheme. Summary of the results. The requirements for a supercomputer in engineering sciences.

Performance and balanced system. Data transfer operations. Scalar performance. Programming language. Summary of requirements. Parallel architectures. The continuous pipe vector computer CPVC. Memory bandwidth. Local and extended memory.

CSCS Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

Number of pipes. Memory organization. Pipe switch and delay register. Building blocks and marketing considerations. Fail-safe system. The continuous pipe. All AMD processor-based systems were categorized as commodity. All Power processor systems were categorized as hybrid except IBM pSeries, for which use of commodity connections was noted in the TOP database, and the Param Padma cluster, which were categorized as commodity. All Hewlett-Packard processor systems were categorized as hybrid. Trend lines fitted to Figure 3.


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Hybrid system performance improvement, on the other hand, roughly tracked single-processor performance gains. Nonetheless, the economics of using much less expensive COTS microprocessors was compelling. Hybrid supercomputer systems rapidly replaced custom systems in the early s. Custom supercomputer sys-. Annualized trend growth rates were calculated as exp 2 b — 1. Commodity high-performance computing systems first appeared on the TOP list in , but it was not until that they began to show up in large numbers.

Since , their numbers have swelled, and today commodity systems account for over 60 percent of the systems on the list see Figure 3. Just as hybrid systems replaced many custom systems in the late s, commodity systems today appear to be displacing hybrid systems in acquisitions. A similar picture is painted by data on R max , which, as noted above, is probably a better proxy for systems revenues. Furthermore, the growing marketplace dominance of commodity supercomputer systems is not just at the low end of the market. A similar. A commodity system did not appear in the top 20 highest performing systems until mid But commodity supercomputers now account for 12 of the 20 systems with the highest Linpack scores.

As was true with the entire TOP list, custom systems were replaced by hybrid systems in the s in the top 20, and the hybrid systems in turn have been replaced by commodity systems over the last 3 years. This rapid restructuring in the type of systems sold in the marketplace has had equally dramatic effects on the companies selling supercomputers. In , the global HPC marketplace with revenues again proxied by total R max was still dominated by Cray, with about a third of the market, and four other U.

What is high-performance computing? A 3 minute explanation of supercomputing

The three Japanese vector supercomputer makers accounted for another 22 percent of TOP performance see Figure 3. Of the five U. Clearly, the HPC marketplace was undergoing a profound transformation in the early s. A decade later, after the advent of hybrid systems and then of commodity high-end systems, the players have changed completely see Figure 3. A company that was not even present on the list in IBM, marketing both hybrid and commodity systems now accounts for over half of the market, Hewlett-Packard mainly hybrid systems now has.

Although some of the Thinking Machines systems counted here were using older proprietary processors, most of the Thinking Machines supercomputers on this chart were newer CM-5 machines using commodity SPARC processors. Cray is a shadow of its former market presence, with only 2 percent of installed capability.

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Two other U. HPC vendors Sun and SGI , which grew significantly with the flowering of hybrid systems in the late s, have ebbed with the advent of commodity systems and now have shares of the market comparable to the pure commodity supercomputer vendors and self-made systems. Over the last 15 years, extraordinary technological ferment has continuously restructured the economics of this industry and the companies surviving within its boundaries. Any policy designed to keep needed supercomputing capabilities available to U. Throughout the computer age, supercomputing has played two important roles.

First, it enables new and innovative approaches to scientific and engineering research, allowing scientists to solve previously unsolvable problems or to provide superior answers. Often, supercomputers have allowed scientists, engineers, and others to acquire knowledge from simulations. Simulations can replace experiments in situations where experiments are impossible, unethical, hazardous, prohibited, or too expensive; they can support theoretical experiments with systems that cannot be created in reality, in order to test the prediction of theories; and they can enhance experiments by allowing measurements that might not be possible in a real experiment.

During the last decades, simulations on high-performance computers have become essential to the design of cars and airplanes, turbines and combustion engines, silicon chips or magnetic disks; they have been extensively used in support of petroleum exploration and exploitation. Accurate weather prediction would not be possible without supercomputing.

Prepared for the U. Department of Energy. April, p.

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The second major effect supercomputing technology has had on computing in general takes place through a spillover effect. Supercomputers continue to lead to major scientific contributions. Supercomputing is also critical to our national security. Supercomputing applications are discussed in detail in Chapter 4. Here the committee highlights a few of the contributions of supercomputing over the years. The importance of supercomputing has been recognized by many reports. The Lax report concluded that large-scale computing was vital to science, engineering, and technology.

Progress in oil reservoir exploitation, quantum field theory, phase transitions in materials, and the development of turbulence were all becoming possible by combining supercomputing with renormalization group techniques p. Aerodynamic design using a supercomputer resulted in the design of an airfoil with 40 percent less drag than the design using previous experimental techniques p. Supercomputers were also critical for designing nuclear power plants p. The Lax report also praised supercomputers for helping to find new phenomena through numerical experiments, such as the discovery of nonergodic behavior in the formation of solitons and the presence of strange attractors and universal features common to a large class of nonlinear systems p.

As supercomputers become more powerful, new applications emerge that leverage their increased performance.

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Recently, supercomputer simulations have been used to understand the evolution of galaxies, the life cycle of supernovas, and the processes that lead to the formation of planets. Simulations have been used to elucidate various biological mechanisms, such. National Science Board. Dubinski, R. Humble, U. Pen, C. Loken, and P. Codes initially developed for supercomputers have been critical for many applications, such as petroleum exploration and exploitation three-dimensional analysis and visualization of huge amounts of seismic data and reservoir modeling , aircraft and automobile design computational fluid mechanics codes, combustion codes , civil engineering design finite element codes , and finance creation of a new market in mortgage-backed securities.

As the need for supercomputing in support of basic science became clear, the NSF supercomputing centers were initiated in , partly as a response to the Lax report. Their mission has expanded over time. The centers have provided essential supercomputing resources in support of scientific research and have driven important research in software, particularly operating systems, compilers, network control, mathematical libraries, and programming languages and environments.

Supercomputers play a critical role for the national security community according to a report for the Secretary of Defense. Benoit Roux and Klaus Schulten. Chen, P. Chen, N. Christ, G. Fleming, C. Jung, A. Kahler, S. Kasow, Y. Luo, C. Malureanu, and C. Office of the Secretary of Defense. BOX 3. Sandia external aerodynamics and heat transfer calculations were made for both undamaged and damaged orbiter configurations using rarefied direct simulation Monte Carlo DSMC codes for configurations flying at altitudes above , ft and continuum Navier-Stokes codes for altitudes below , ft.

The same computational tools were used to predict jet impingement heating and pressure loads on the internal structure, as well as the heat transfer and flow through postulated damage sites into and through the wing. Experiments were conducted to obtain quasi-static and dynamic material response data on the foam, tiles, strain isolation pad, and reinforced carbon-carbon wing leading edge.

These data were then used in Sandia finite element calculations of foam impacting the thermal protection tiles and wing leading edge in support of accident scenario definition and foam impact testing at Southwest Research Institute. The supercomputers at Sandia played a key role in helping NASA determine the cause of the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

Advanced computer research programs have had major payoffs in terms of technologies that enriched the computer and communication industries. As an example, the DARPA VLSI program in the s had major payoffs in developing timesharing, computer networking, workstations, computer graphics, windows and mouse user interface technology, very large integrated circuit design, reduced instruction set computers, redundant arrays of inexpensive disks, parallel computing, and digital libraries.

Many of the benefits were unanticipated. Closer to home, one can list many technologies that were initially developed for supercomputers and that, over time, migrated to mainstream architectures. In the software area, program analysis techniques such as dependence analysis and instruction scheduling, which were initially developed for supercomputer compilers, are now used in most mainstream compilers.

Scientific visualization was developed in large part to help scientists interpret the results of their supercomputer calculations; today, even spreadsheets can display three-dimensional data plots. Scientific software libraries such as LAPACK that were originally designed for high-performance platforms are now widely used in commercial packages running on a large range of.

In the application areas, many application packages that are routinely used in industry e. These technologies were developed in a complex interaction involving researchers at universities, the national laboratories, and companies. The reasons for such a spillover effect are obvious and still valid nowadays: Supercomputers are at the cutting edge of performance.

In order to push performance they need to adapt new hardware and software solutions ahead of mainstream computers. And the high performance levels of supercomputers enable new applications that can be developed on capability platforms and then used on an increasingly broader set of cheaper platforms as hardware performance continues to improve.

Supercomputers play a significant and growing role in a variety of areas important to the nation.


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They are used to address challenging science and technology problems. In recent years, however, progress in supercomputing in the United States has slowed. The development of the Earth Simulator supercomputer by Japan that the United States could lose its competitive advantage and, more importantly, the national competence needed to achieve national goals.

This report provides an assessment of the current status of supercomputing in the United States including a review of current demand and technology, infrastructure and institutions, and international activities. The report also presents a number of recommendations to enable the United States to meet current and future needs for capability supercomputers. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website. Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

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Sign up for email notifications and we'll let you know about new publications in your areas of interest when they're released. Get This Book. Visit NAP. Looking for other ways to read this? No thanks. Suggested Citation: "3 Brief History of Supercomputing. Page 29 Share Cite. Page 30 Share Cite. Page 31 Share Cite. Page 32 Share Cite. Page 33 Share Cite. Page 34 Share Cite. Page 35 Share Cite. Page 36 Share Cite. Page 37 Share Cite. Page 38 Share Cite. Page 39 Share Cite. Page 40 Share Cite. Among them were these: Device technology shifted to complementary metal oxide semiconductor CMOS , both for commodity-based systems and for custom systems.

Page 41 Share Cite. Page 42 Share Cite. Page 43 Share Cite. Page 44 Share Cite. THE U. Page 45 Share Cite. Page 46 Share Cite. Page 47 Share Cite. Page 48 Share Cite. Page 49 Share Cite. Page 50 Share Cite. Page 51 Share Cite. Page 52 Share Cite. The Courses in scientific computing are divided into three main branches, each containing specific courses. It is recommended that you follow the courses within each main branch in the order presented. The main branches themselves are independent.

Should dependencies across branches arise, they will be indicated at the top of each course. The histories of Wikiversity pages indicate who the active participants are. If you are an active participant in this department, you can list your name here this can help small departments grow and the participants communicate better; for large departments a list of active participants is not needed.

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