Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Space-Capsule' Computing Concept May Unlock Petaflops Power, UD Researchers Report

Date:
August 27, 1997
Source:
University Of Delaware
Summary:
A new computing concept--patterned after successful space missions--may soon help University of Delaware researchers complete the architectural blueprint for a supercomputer 1 million times more powerful than the most advanced personal computer now on the market.

August 25, 1997--A new computing concept--patterned after successful space missions--may soon help University of Delaware researchers complete the architectural blueprint for a supercomputer 1 million times more powerful than the most advanced personal computer now on the market.

Capable of processing 1 million billion commands or "floating point operations" per second, the world's first "petaflops" machine may feature superconducting microprocessors, three-dimensional holographic data storage, advanced semiconductor memory and optical interconnections. But first, researchers must figure out how to compensate for the fact that the machine's processing chips will work much faster than its memory.

The space-capsule computing concept should help bridge this technological gap, says Guang R. Gao, director of UD's growing Computer Architecture and Parallel Systems Laboratory (CAPSL) and a leading expert on the "multi-threaded program model," a processing strategy gaining increasing attention from high-performance chip and system designers. Gao introduced his research team's latest findings during the national Hybrid Technology Multi-threaded (HTMT) Architecture workshop, held at UD July 20-21.

How does the concept work? The key, Gao says, is to prepare "parallel computational threads--essentially, many independent instruction pathways--within the machine's lower-level memory hierarchy." The brain of a multi-threaded petaflops computer, a series of processors powered by superconducting materials that lose all resistance to electricity when deeply chilled, would execute many different tasks in turn, Gao explains. Unfortunately, these superconducting processors might run into problems when gathering information from many different sites within the computer's deep-memory hierarchy, such as the optical memory unit or the dynamic random access memory (D-RAM) region. Different types of data therefore must be converted into a single "capsule" or parcel of information, Gao says.

In other words: "You stock your capsule with all the information needed by the processors before launching it into the superconducting region," Gao says. "If you launch the information without preparing it first, the execution of tasks will almost certainly be interrupted while the processor fetches what it needs from different sites." After all, "if the Mars rover had been sent into space without all the proper equipment," Gao notes, "that mission would have been a disaster!"

For handling large, non-regular problems ranging from real-time weather forecasting and biochemical modeling to simulations of complex systems such as aircraft, a petaflops computer may prove essential, says Kevin B. Theobald, one of a half-dozen graduate students and postdoctoral associates in Gao's lab. Gao's work "is a critical path element in the success of the HTMT project," says researcher Thomas Sterling of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., principal investigator for the HTMT project and one of three visionaries to propose a petaflops machine in 1995.

Resulting from a study funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the HTMT project is now sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), the National Security Administration (NSA) and NASA. Gao's lab will receive $800,000 over the next several years to develop the architectural blueprint for a petaflops computer. Along with UD, the HTMT project includes the California Institute of Technology and JPL, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Notre Dame University, Princeton University, and government and industry labs.

The UD team members are system-design veterans who previously developed a high-performance, multi-threaded, multi-processor system known as EARTH (Efficient Architecture for Running Threads)--a project directed by Gao at McGill University in Montreal, where he taught before joining the UD faculty in 1996. The EARTH platform is built atop a 20-node, 40-processor parallel machine called MANNA (Massively parallel Architecture for Numerical and Non-numerical Applications), contributed by the GMD-First computer firm of Berlin, Germany. Doctoral student Andres Marquez, who helped design the memory system for the MANNA, is now part of the UD team and one of the lead designers for the HTMT project, Gao notes.

The EARTH system also can run on the IBM SP-2 parallel computer, thanks to support from C.J. Tan and others at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center. Tan, senior manager in charge of IBM's Deep Blue chess project, will be speaking at UD on Oct. 21.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Delaware. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Delaware. "'Space-Capsule' Computing Concept May Unlock Petaflops Power, UD Researchers Report." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970827054920.htm>.
University Of Delaware. (1997, August 27). 'Space-Capsule' Computing Concept May Unlock Petaflops Power, UD Researchers Report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970827054920.htm
University Of Delaware. "'Space-Capsule' Computing Concept May Unlock Petaflops Power, UD Researchers Report." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970827054920.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Newsy (July 26, 2014) A bill legalizing "unlocking," or untethering a phone from its default wireless carrier, has passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Acquires 'Pandora of Books' Service BookLamp

Apple Acquires 'Pandora of Books' Service BookLamp

Newsy (July 26, 2014) Apple reportedly acquired analytics and recommendation engine BookLamp for between $10 and $15 million. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Newsy (July 26, 2014) An IP address within the House of Representatives was banned from editing Wikipedia articles for 10 days after it made some questionable changes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins