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  • xeraflops

    Today's NYT has an article about the achievement of 1.0 petaflop in the latest supercomputer. I found it astounding that the machine requires 3 megawatts to keep it humming. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/09/te...ss&oref=slogin

    The article outlines the progression of milestones which the future holds:
    The next thousandfold goal is the exaflop, which is a quintillion calculations per second, followed by the zettaflop, the yottaflop, and the xeraflop.

    Where did this new SI prefix, the xera (10^27), come from? Even Wikipedia does not list it, at least not five minutes ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI_prefix. What's the prefix for 10^-27?
    Last edited by aostling; 06-09-2008, 08:23 PM.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    They are going to use it to calculate the rate of Global Warming!

    Peter
    I have tools I don't know how to use!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Allen,

      I'm actually involved in building a PetaFlop machine from one of the RoadRunner competitors -- there are actually several PetaFlop machines being built for the US government, both for the military (like RoadRunner) and for the National Science Foundation for protein synthesis.

      RoadRunner requires 3 Megawatts because all the PetaFlop machines are built from thousands of processors. RoadRunner is comprised of node cards, where a four socket AMD Opteron blade server is paired with 4 CELL processors from IBM/Sony. So there are 4 Opterons and 4 cells per node, and 4,000 nodes

      A misleading comment in the NYT article: these aren't the same Sony CELL processors that are in the PS3. It's a second-generation 65nm part that IBM made specifically for RoadRunner, which they call the CELL eDP -- which stands for "enhanced Double Precision." Each CELL eDP is capable of 100 GFlops peak, double precision, which is impressive.

      By the way, when it's finished, RoadRunner will be capable of 1.6 PetaFlops peak

      Cheers,

      Robert
      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lazlo

        By the way, when it's finished, RoadRunner will be capable of 1.6 PetaFlops peak
        Robert,

        I now regret titling this thread xeraflops, a computing speed which seems unlikely to ever be achieved. That SI prefix (if it is official) seems far in advance of any utility.

        The RoadRunner machine is impressive. I wonder what the theoretical minimum power requirements might be, based on the concept that information is interchangeable with energy. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informa...rty_in_physics
        Another, more philosophical, outcome is that information could be thought of as interchangeable with energy. Thus, in the study of logic gates, the theoretical lower bound of thermal energy released by an AND gate is higher than for the NOT gate (because information is destroyed in an AND gate and simply converted in a NOT gate). Physical information is of particular importance in the theory of quantum computers.
        Allan Ostling

        Phoenix, Arizona

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by aostling
          Robert,

          I now regret titling this thread xeraflops, a computing speed which seems unlikely to ever be achieved. That SI prefix (if it is official) seems far in advance of any utility.
          I think it's a typo -- the next supercomputing goal is an "Exaflop", which is 1,000 Petaflops -- 10^18 Flops. At the current trends, we'll hit an ExaFlop in about 10 years.
          Edit: I just re-read the NYT article, and they do use "xeraflop" as 1,000 YottaFlops. I guess my daughter will be building that machine

          The RoadRunner machine is impressive. I wonder what the theoretical minimum power requirements might be, based on the concept that information is interchangeable with energy.
          I think you may be reading more into this Allan The reason computer architects always add "peak" to the performance quotations on parallel machines is because the PowerPoint performance of the machine is calculated as Number of Cores * Peak Flop Rate per Core. Or, as we like to joke, Peak Performance is the performance that you'll never hit

          So the CELL processor has 8 SPE cores, each has a peak of 12.8 GFlops, double precision @ 3.2 Ghz. So 8 cores * 12.8 GFlops = 102.4 GFlops. 12,000 CELL processors * 102.4 GFlops = 1.224 PetaFlops.

          However, the reality is that no application, even the "embarrassingly parallel" LINPACK applications that Los Alamos is running, will come anywhere close to linear speedup (Linear speedup means 2 cores would have twice the performance of 1 core). Reality is that even the best parallel applications only scale by 1.5 to 1.8 (so 2 cores would be 1 1/2 times faster than 1 core). Amdahl's second law states that any parallel application has a substantial serial component that limits the overall scalability, and the scalability gets worse as you add cores to the system.

          So the NSF, DOE (RoadRunner) and DOD Request for Proposals usually specify 5 - 10% of Peak performance. So that 1.2 Petaflop machine will actually execute 120 GFlops on a real-world app. The hardware is absolutely capable of executing 1.2 Petaflops, but it's virtually impossible to write software that can get anywhere close to that, due to the synchronization overhead of passing data around 20,000 processors.

          Short answer: these machines are always running full-bore to get their maximal performance, so that 3 Megawatt is both peak power and typical power.
          Last edited by lazlo; 06-09-2008, 04:26 PM.
          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

          Comment


          • #6
            I dunno about flops except the theatrical variety. I do ave recent experience with a Terabyte hard disk. I bough one on reccommendation of a friend of mine. Tera = a trillion of something.

            How to put that in perspective? Get out the calculator. A trillion is a million millions. 10^12. If fine sand it would cover a football field 19 ft deep. If 20 dollar bills it would cover a football field 425 feet deep. Got that? Now take that same volume of material and be able to nearly instantly select a specifc bill or grain of sand and determine it's state.

            My computer can do it in the book sized terabyte hard disk.

            Dazzling. Gigaflops. Petaflops. Xeraflops (is that next?). When will a computer be able to peaceably out-maneuver a willfull teenager?

            Comment


            • #7
              According to NIST, xera is not an official SI prefix.

              http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/prefixes.html
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                A flop

                So it must be a flop?

                "Flip-flops" are part of our national dress in OZ.

                Perhaps you noticed!!
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip_flop_%28footwear%29

                We lead the world in being "chic".
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chic_%28style%29

                In my own case I can trace my culture all the way back to a Petri dish.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petri_dish

                The "cells" come with the Convict heritage.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convicts_in_Australia

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                • #9
                  I wonder what the theoretical minimum power requirements might be, based on the concept that information is interchangeable with energy.
                  That's a good question without a definitive answer, yet. Since something must change in order represent a zero or one bit it must take some minimum amount of energy to represent that. The answer is buried somewhere in the land below the quarks I am sure and is probably related to the Plank length/time. How to harness it is an engineering problem.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lazlo
                    Allen,

                    I'm actually involved in building a PetaFlop machine from one of the RoadRunner competitors -- there are actually several PetaFlop machines being built for the US government, both for the military (like RoadRunner) and for the National Science Foundation for protein synthesis.

                    Robert
                    Great,now they will be able to f---up data at 100x's the speed
                    I just need one more tool,just one!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ahh, but can it play Crysis at a decent frame rate???

                      I think I am up to somewhere around 2TB of storage here at home between my two computers. I think I have about 250 to 300gb free at the moment...

                      Ahh.. the days in high school when 40MB was a pretty good size hard drive.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lazlo
                        Allen,

                        By the way, when it's finished, RoadRunner will be capable of 1.6 PetaFlops peak

                        Robert
                        Hmmm, maybe that will get Widows Vista running at a reasonable pace

                        Dave
                        If it does'nt fit, hit it.
                        https://ddmetalproducts.co.uk
                        http://www.davekearley.co.uk

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lazlo
                          Allen,

                          I'm actually involved in building a PetaFlop machine from one of the RoadRunner competitors

                          Robert
                          Probably gonna need at least a couple of 56k modems in that thing to make it sing on the internet
                          If it does'nt fit, hit it.
                          https://ddmetalproducts.co.uk
                          http://www.davekearley.co.uk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Speeding

                            If that 56K modem is too demanding- try my first modem -1100/300!!!

                            Blistering speed though!!

                            My $600 (at "mate's rates") 9,600K modem was just out of this world!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ahh.. the days in high school when 40MB was a pretty good size hard drive.
                              Ahh.. the days in high school when 4KB of magnetic drum was a pretty good size hard drive.

                              Last edited by Evan; 06-10-2008, 09:34 AM.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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