Helping supercomputers stay super
They`ve got power, size and lustre. But with size comes complexity, and that makes them vulnerable. A recent conference discussed ways to prevent system failure
By: Howard Solomon
Computing Canada (22 Nov 2012)
(IBM's BigGene supercomputer)
Supercomputers have been around since the 1960s, at first powered by esoteric processors. Today they are run by the kind of multi-core CPUs found in common servers.
According to the TOP500 list, the fastest computer in the world as of Nov. 12 was the Cray XK7, which uses 16-core AMD Opteron processors.
But despite advances in CPUs, optical networking and other tricks, high performance computers have a weakness: Their size.
Simply put, the more components in a supercomputer the greater the odds something will break.
At the recent SC12 conference researchers discussed this problem, which is only going to get worse.
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