Peter Beckman, director of the Exascale Technology and Computing Institute at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, recently spoke with Computerworld about current developments in exascale computing.
Beckman says that to develop an exascale system, the entire software stack will require an integrated approach, which means the real focus should be on advancing computing techniques. He says an exascale machine will become its own computation problem, one that cannot be solved just by buying more disks.
A multi-level plan is needed, including nonvolatile random access memory and even novel technologies such as phase-change memory, Beckman says, adding that there needs to be a way to compute and then analyze and perform the storage and analysis closer together. Although he says there are some types of data that are easier to work with in this way, there needs to be a way to slice the data and do the analysis on that data in an integrated architecture.
If the Europeans are successful in developing an exascale system, it paves the way to put more funding into research and development, Beckman notes. The Chinese also are developing an exascale system with an emphasis on using only domestically made technologies.
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