[Beowulf] ARM cpu's and development boards and research

Prentice Bisbal prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu
Tue Nov 27 15:17:55 PST 2012


On 11/27/2012 03:37 PM, Douglas Eadline wrote:
>
>> My interest in Arm has been the flip side of balancing flops to network
>> bandwidth.  A standard dual socket (AMD or Intel) can trivially saturate
>> GigE.  One option for improving the flops/network balance is to add
>> network bandwidth with Infiniband.  Another is a slower, cheaper, cooler
>> CPU and GigE.
>>
> applause.

I applaud that applause.

What Bill has just described is known as an "Amdahl-balanced system", 
and is the design philosophy between the IBM Blue Genes and also 
SiCortex. In my opinion, this is the future of HPC. Use lower power, 
slower processors, and then try to improve network performance to reduce 
the cost of scaling out. Essentially, you want the processors to be 
*just* fast enough to keep ahead of the networking and memory, but no 
faster to optimize energy savings.

The Blue Genes do this incredibly well, so did SiCortex, and Seamicro 
appears to be doing this really well, too, based on all the press 
they've been getting. With the DARPA Exascale report saying we can't get 
to Exascale with current power consumption profiles, you can bet this 
will be a hot area of research over the next few years.

Okay. I'm done listening to myself type.

Prentice


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