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Exascale Computing by Decade’s End

EE Times India (07/12/12) Dylan McGrath

Parallelism and technology scaling will make exascale computing possible by the end of the decade, says Intel Fellow Shekhar Borkar.  By about 2018, engineers are expected to create an exascale supercomputer, and about 10 years later the technology will likely find its way into PCs and eventually into mobile systems.  Still, exascale computing would consume vast amounts of power if current trends hold true, Borkar notes.  A key challenge will be to build an exascale computing system that consumes only 20MW of power, and engineers would be able to use the same technology to significantly reduce the power consumption of lower performance systems.  Borkar says improvements must be made in both energy per transistor and energy per compute operation.  He notes that scaling down supply voltage boosts energy efficiency, but the side effect of this is leakage power not declining as much as total power consumption, which makes leakage power a higher percentage of total power consumption.  Borkar makes several other observations, such as the importance of local computing due to the issue of power consumption.  “Clearly, data movement energy will dominate the future,” he says.

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