Moving from Petaflops to Petadata
Magazine article, 2013
The race to build ever-faster supercomputers is on, with more contenders than ever before. However, the current goals set for this race may not lead to the fastest computation for particular applications. A creator of the TOP500 supercomputers list rightfully claimed the list sheds light on only one dimension of modern supercomputing, which is a relatively narrow one. This Viewpoint is intended to induce thinking about alternative performance measures for ranking, possibly ones with a much wider scope. This Viewpoint is not offering a solution. It is offering a theme for brainstorming. To demonstrate this need for such thinking, one will use the example of a particular type of systems, based on a kind of dataflow approach. The current era of supercomputing is referred to as the petascale era. The next big HPC challenge is to break the exascale barrier. However, due to technological limitations, there is growing agreement that reaching this goal will require a substantial shift toward hardware/software codesign.