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Scientists, IT Community Await Exascale Computers.

Computerworld (12/07/09) Thibodeau, Patrick

The information technology (IT) industry discussed the challenges it faces in developing exascale systems, a new generation of supercomputers that promise to be far more powerful than existing technology, during the recent SC09 supercomputing conference in Portland, Oregon. With a peak performance of 2.3 petaflops, Jaguar, a Cray XT5 system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is the fastest supercomputer today. However, an exaflop would be 1,000 times faster than a petaflop. Exascale systems are expected to appear by 2018, but developers have to improve hardware performance while limiting the use of power. Exascale supercomputers will need to use less memory per core and more memory bandwidth, considering systems running 100 million cores will have continuous core failures. The IT community will have to rethink such issues “in a dramatic kind of way,” says IBM’s Dave Turek. “There are serious exascale-class problems that just cannot be solved in any reasonable amount of time with the computers that we have today,” says Buddy Bland, project director at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility.

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