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A Modest Proposal for Petascale Computing

February 8, 2008

In an editorial in the February 8 issue of HPCwire titled “A Modest Proposal for Petascale Computing,” editor Michael Feldman writes:

In typical forward-thinking California fashion, the folks at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) are already looking beyond single petaflop systems, even before a single one has been released into the wild. LBNL researchers have started to explore what a multi-petaflop computer architecture might look like. Even ignoring the challenge of software concurrency, they point out that power and system costs will determine how such machines can be built....

At last year's SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering, LBNL researchers Lenny Oliker, John Shalf, [and] Michael Wehner authored a presentation about what kind of supercomputer would be required for a climate modeling system with kilometer-scale fidelity.

Feldman describes this research as a “paradigm shift [in] thinking about supercomputers as appliances rather than as general-purpose computers.”

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC serves almost 10,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in climate, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.