Introduction - What is a supercomputer? High Performance...

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Week 1: Introduction High Performance Computing ( COIS 4350H) Sabine McConnell Winter 2010 What is a supercomputer? • US government computer • anything better than a desktop • fastest machine in world at given task • a device to turn compute bound problem into I/O bound problem • any machine costing $30Million + • any machine designed by Seymour Cray Why Faster Computers? Solve compute-intensive problems faster – Make infeasible problems feasible – Reduce design time Solve larger problems in same amount of time – Improve answer’s precision – Reduce design time Gain competitive advantage Modern Scientific Method Nature Observation Theory Physical Experimentation Numerical Simulation
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Outline • History and Examples • Programming Environments • Course Administration Evolution of Supercomputing • World War II – Hand-computed artillery tables – Need to speed computations – ENIAC • Cold War – Nuclear weapon design – Intelligence gathering – Code-breaking History of Supercomputers: 1960’s • first supercomputer • 9MFlops •10 smaller computers feeding single arithmetic unit •first delivered in 1964 • outperformed predecessor (IBM 7030 Stretch) by a factor of 3 • designed by Seymour Cray
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Texas Instruments Advanced Scientific Computer (ASC) • built by Texas Instruments between 1966 and 1973 • single high-speed shared memory • CPU was split in two parts: – Peripheral processor to run OS – ALU (CPU) to run applications History of Supercomputers: 1970’s • supercomputers were vector processors • many companies tried to enter the market at the low-cost end • some major players: Texas Instruments (interested in oil exploration) and Cray Commercial Supercomputing • Started in capital-intensive industries – Petroleum exploration – Automobile manufacturing • Other companies followed suit – Pharmaceutical design – Consumer products Cray-1 • first vector/register machine • built by Seymour Cray • first machine delivered to Los Alamos Scientific Laboraties in 1976 • 75MHz, 64-bit machine with a peak speed of 160 Megaflops • world's fastest vector processor
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History of Supercomputers: 1980’s • small number of vector processors working in parallel was standard • still large number of competitors entering the market • first idea of standardizing operating systems NEC SX-2 History of Supercomputers: 90s • market crash in mid 90’s -> many vendors disappear • vector processors fall from favour • switch to massively parallel systems with thousands of processors • first supercomputer breaks Teraflop barrier Cray T3E-900 (1995) • massively parallel • distributed memory • 8 to 2176 processing elements arranged in 3D torus
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ASCI Red/ASCI Option Red NEC Earth Simulator • Was fastest supercomputer from 2002 to 2004 • Resolution down to 10 km for whole earth • 640 nodes • At each node – eight vector processors – 16GB memory 2000 and beyond: two
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Introduction - What is a supercomputer? High Performance...

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