The national supercomputer – towards exascale computing

Mar

29

2016

Supercomputers are outside the category of computer systems. They all speak to the imagination since the very beginning in the sixties, when Seymour Cray decided to drive systems to the limit to get as much power as possible. In part, the trend in the accounting samples is similar to that in systems of ordinary users. Also for desktops and laptops For a long time that the more power they offered, the better it was. And as with consumer systems is also on supercomputers energy an increasingly hot item.

However desktops and laptops have come at the stage where the speed for more users is ‘good enough’. The operating system and basic programs run smoothly, and very big jumps do not need to make more processor for many. In laptops, and 2-in-1 systems, the consumption is now much more important, with a view to a long battery life. With game systems always require more graphics power, but the fastest CPU you do not long to have more.

In high performance computing, there is no “good enough”. There is a continuous effort to deliver significantly more power, both the CPUs and increasingly by GPUs and most preferably at the lowest possible energy consumption. Indeed, there is always more data to complex computational tasks to let go, both in large companies and in scientific institutions. More and more scientific disciplines in addition see the benefits of big data for research in their field.

Supercomputers are used for real-time sensor data from satellites to handle the situation of forests in order to simulate aircraft engines, soil research by the oil and gas industry, to simulations of complex chemical compounds, new materials and medicine, within the framework of comprehensive economic models, etcetera.

That is why the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research, NWO or, recently the national supercomputer Descartes decided to give an upgrade

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