White House says supercomputing 'arms race' could prove costly
The White House view could help accelerate acceptance of other metrics that can determine system performance.
Alternative to the Linpack tests are emerging. For instance, an international team led by Sandia National Laboratories released a new rating system, Graph 500, in November.
Richard Murphy, a researcher at Sandia who helped develop Graph 500, said the benchmark is complementary to the one used by the Top500 operation.
"Top500 ranks compute intensive applications, and the point of Graph 500 is to rank data intensive applications, which are a major new scientific and engineering research challenge," said Murphy said in an e-mail response to questions from Computerworld.
Business areas that the Graph 500 metric could benefit include cybersecurity, data enrichment, medical informatics and social networks, said Murphy.
The Graph 500 benchmark had nine submission to the first list released in November, "which is about what we were hoping for," said Murphy.
"There were probably another 8-10 groups that inquired about submitting but didn't do so because they didn't know how to baseline the performance numbers they got. Basically, because nobody had put a performance stake in the ground, they didn't know if they performed well or not and didn't want to risk submitting," he added.
Graph 500 measures both performance and problem size, which means a smaller HPC system could outperform a larger one, but only to solve a smaller problem in many cases.
Jack Dongarra, a professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee and a distinguished research staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and one of the international researchers who maintains the Top500 list, said he agrees with the White House report. A benchmark he helped developed, the High Performance Computing Challenge (HPCC), tries to address this problem by completing seven performance tests to measure multiple aspects of a system. HPCC was originally developed for DARPA.
"The benchmark that goes into the generating the Top 500 is only one number measuring only one aspect of a system," said Dongarra, in response to email questions. "The Graph 500 will have the same problem. HPCC attempts to provide many more numbers and test points," he said.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- IBM project aims to forecast and control Beijing's air pollution
- China has the fastest supercomputer, but the U.S. still rules
- ISC: Cray makes Lustre palatable for storage administrators
- SC500: China wins a slowing supercomputer race
- Fujitsu 56 Gbps circuit doubles communication speeds between CPUs
- HP enters supercomputing market with water-cooled Apollo system
- In exascale, Japan stands apart with firm delivery plan
- Here comes a supercomputing app store
- An HPC champion helps Trek Bicycle shift gears
- D-Wave pitches quantum co-acceleration to supercomputing set
Read more about High Performance Computing in Computerworld's High Performance Computing Topic Center.
- SIP Migration: Addressing CIOs' Concerns Recent data from IDG Research shows that many IT executives are counting on SIP to help them meet employee efficiency and customer experience...
- SBIC: Transforming Information Security This report combines perspectives on technologies with experience in strategy to help security teams navigate complex decisions regarding technology deployments while maximizing investments.
- InfoTech: Cloud File Sharing Organizations are increasingly turning to cloud file sharing solutions to meet end-user's needs for a lightweight and effective collaboration tool. In this report,...
- Rethinking Backup and Recovery As enterprises continue to transform their data centers, and virtualization plays an increasing role in their IT infrastructures, the way data is backed...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed in recent years, and it continues to escalate. All High Performance Computing White Papers | Webcasts
Computerworld has launched its annual search for outstanding IT leaders who align technology with business goals. Nominate a top IT executive for the 2015 Premier 100 IT Leaders awards now through July 18.