Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Data Motion Metric' Needed for Supercomputer Rankings, Says SDSC's Snavely

11.08.2011
As we enter the era of data-intensive research and supercomputing, the world’s top computer systems should not be ranked on calculation speed alone, according to Allan Snavely, associate director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego.

“I’d like to propose that we routinely compare machines using the metric of data motion capacity, or their ability to move data quickly,” Snavely told attendees of the ‘Get Ready for Gordon – Summer Institute’ being held this week (August 8-11) at SDSC to familiarize potential users with the unique capabilities of SDSC’s new Gordon data-intensive supercomputer.

Gordon, the result of a five-year, $20 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), is the first high-performance supercomputer to use large amounts of flash-based SSD (solid state drive) memory. With about 300 trillion bytes of flash memory and 64 I/O nodes, Gordon will be capable of handling massive data bases while providing up to 100 times faster speeds when compared to hard drive disk systems for some queries. Flash memory is more common in smaller devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers, but unique for supercomputers, which generally use slower spinning disk technology.

The system is set to formally enter production on January 1, 2012, although pre-production allocations on some parts of the cluster will start as early as this month for U.S. academic researchers.

“This may be a somewhat heretical notion, but at SDSC we want a supercomputer to be data capable, not just FLOP/S capable,” said Snavely, whom along with many other HPC experts now contend that supercomputers should also be measured by their overall ability to help researchers solve real-world science problems. Snavely’s proposal includes a measurement that weights DRAM, flash memory, and disk capacity according to access time in a compute cycle.

A common term within the supercomputing community, peak speed means the fastest speed at which a supercomputer can calculate. It is typically measured in FLOP/S, which stands for FLoating point OPerations per Second. In lay terms, it basically means peak calculations per second. In June, a Japanese supercomputer capable of performing more than 8 quadrillion calculations per second (petaflop/s) was ranked the top system in the world, putting Japan back in the top spot for the first time since 2004, according the latest edition of the TOP500 List of the world’s supercomputers. The system, called the K Computer, is at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan, and replaced China's Tianhe-1A system as the fastest supercomputer in the rankings, which has been using this metric since 1993.

“Everyone says we are literally drowning in data, but here are some simple technical reasons,” said Snavely. “The number of cycles for computers to access data is getting longer – in fact disks are getting slower all the time as their capacity goes up but access times stay the same. It now takes twice as long to examine a disk every year, or put another way, this doubling of capacity halves the accessibility to any random data on a given media.

“That’s a pernicious outcome for Moore’s Law,” he said, noting that as the number of cycles for computers to access data gets longer, some large-scale systems are just “spending time twiddling their thumbs.”
Media Contacts:
Jan Zverina, SDSC Communications, 858 534-5111 or jzverina@sdsc.edu
Warren R. Froelich, SDSC Communications, 858 822-3622 or froelich@sdsc.edu

Jan Zverina | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sdsc.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>