UF Leads World in Reconfigurable Supercomputing.

University of Florida News (02/15/11) Ron Word

University of Florida researchers say the Novo-G is the world’s fastest reconfigurable supercomputer and that it is capable of executing some key science applications faster than the Chinese Tianhe-1A system, which was rated the world’s most powerful supercomputer in the Top500 list in November. Florida professor Alan George notes that the Top500 list scores systems based on their performance of a few basic routines in linear algebra using 64-bit, floating-point arithmetic. He says many important apps do not comply with that standard, and software apps for most computers must conform to fixed-logic hardware structures that can slow down computing speed and boost energy consumption. However, reconfigurable systems feature architecture that can adjust to match each app’s unique requirements, leading to higher speed and more energy efficiency due to adaptive hardware customization. Novo-G employs 192 reconfigurable processors and “can rival the speed of the world’s largest supercomputers at a tiny fraction of their cost, size, power, and cooling,” according to the researchers, who say it is particularly well suited for applications in genome research, cancer diagnosis, plant science, and large data set analysis.

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