Maximum Performance Computing for Exascale Applications
Speaker: Dr. Michael J. Flynn, Dr. Oskar Mencer
Series: Topical Seminars
Location: Engineering Quadrangle B205
Date/Time: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Ever since Fermi, Pasta and Ulam conducted the first fundamentally important numerical experiments in 1953, science has been driven by the progress of available computational capability. In particular, computational quantum chemistry and computational quantum physics depend on ever increasing amounts of computation.
However, due to power density limitations at the chip we have seen the end of single CPU performance scaling. Now the challenge is to improve compute performance through some form of parallel processing without incurring power limits at the system level. One way to deal with the system "power wall" question is to ask "what is the maximum amount of computation that can be achieved within a certain power budget". We argue that such Maximum Performance Computing needs to focus on end-to-end execution time of complete scientific applications and needs to include a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together scientists and engineers to optimize the whole process from mathematics and algorithms all the way down to arithmetic and number representation.
We have done a number of such multidisciplinary studies with our customers (Chevron, Schlumberger, and JP Morgan). Our current results with Maxeler Dataflow Engines for production PDE solver applications in Earth Sciences and Finance show an improvement of 20-40x in Watts per application run.
Michael J. Flynn, Chairman, Maxeler, and Professor Emeritus, Stanford University: Michael J. Flynn, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, is best-known for the [SIMD, SISD, MISD, MIMD] classification and the first detailed discussion of superscalar design. He was founder and senior consultant to Palyn Associates, a leading computer design company; founder and Vice President of American Supercomputers; and a partner at Paragon Partners, a venture capital partnership. Prof. Flynn received the IEEE/ACM Eckert-Mauchley and Harry Goode Memorial Awards in 1992 and 1995, respectively.
Oskar Mencer, CEO and Founder, Maxeler: Prior to founding Maxeler Technologies, Oskar Mencer was Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs, leading the effort on "Computing with FPGAs" within the Computing Sciences Center. He joined Bell Labs after receiving a PhD from Stanford University. Besides his work with Maxeler, Oskar is also affiliated with the Computing Department at Imperial College London and holds a Consulting Professor position at the Geophysics department at Stanford University. Oskar's experience includes start-ups and more established companies in Silicon Valley such as DIGITAL, Rockwell and Hitachi (Tokyo).