Walking around SC14 in New Orleans, one can’t help but notice the density claims. Figures range upwards from 20kW with a number of impressive sounding 100kW cabinets on display too. Density is important to the future of HPC in terms of reducing energy, cost and inefficiency in interconnect, not to mention ensuring that operators can install their growing HPC systems within their real estate constraints.
My father, Hans Meuer, was a huge proponent of all kinds of ranking. With great pleasure he would recite the list of names of the best chess players along with their own ”Linpack rating“, the so-called Elo numbers, and enjoy his opponent’s astonishment afterwards. He definitely could impress those who understood that the Elo numbers, unlike the TOP500 ranking, were updated monthly.
This year at the SC conference, the iconic Beowulf Bash celebrates the 20-year history of Beowulf clusters, the 1994 achievement that would transform the HPC industry, lowering the cost-per-flop barrier for anyone ambitious enough to tackle the parallelism challenge. Today the parallel is palpable, as HPC faces new architectural revolutions that carry software implications of their own.