What’s the super in supercomputing? A leading-edge CPU or the number of processors slaved to build the computational behemoth?
If you ask the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, numbers count. That’s why it has chosen to build a high performance computer out of an ARM-based chip that powers Samsung’s US$249 Chromebook.
You read that right.
According to a report in ComputerWorld U.S., the goal is to build a supercomputer from commodity parts, including 2,000 Samsung-made ARM processors. Why? To save power.
There is no doubt that the CPUs in modern laptops are tremendously more powerful than the ones we used five years ago, but who would have thought that a processor in a light device would suffice? Truth is, the BSC’s goals are modest. Still, from little things great ideas grow.