beowulf in space
astroguy at bellsouth.net
Thu Apr 17 01:29:58 EDT 2003
Art Edwards wrote:
>I think I'm jumping into the middle of a conversation here, but our
>branch is the shop through which most of the DoD processor programs are
>managed. For real space applications there are radiation issues like
>total dose hardness and single even upset that require special design
>and, still, special processing. That is, you can't make these parts at
>any foundry (yet). There are currently two hardened foundries through
>which the most tolerant parts are fabricated. Where the commercial
>market is ~100's of Billions/year, the space electronics industry is
>~200million/year. So parts are expensive, as Jim Lux says. But more
>importantly, the current state-of-the-art for space processors is
>several generations back. Now, with a 200 million market/year, who is
>going to spend the money to build a new foundry? (anyone?) It's a huge
>problem, and beowulfs in space will not give the economies of scale
>necessary to move us forward.
>I don't know if this has been discussed here, but have you thought about
>launch costs? They're huge. Weight, power, and mission lifetime are the
>crucial factors for space. These are the reasons that so much R&D goes
>into space electronics. I apologize if I have gone over old ground.
>On Wed, Apr 16, 2003 at 04:41:36PM -0700, Jim Lux wrote:
>>>>There's also a non-negligble cost of having more items on the "bill of
>>>>materials": each different kind of part needs drawings, documentation,
>>>>procedures, etc., a lot of which is what makes space stuff so expensive
>>>>compared to the commercial parts (for which the primary cost driver is
>>>>of sand (raw materials) and marketing) so again, systems comprised of
>>>>identical parts have advantages.
>>>Hmmm, so the primary cost determinant of VLSIC's is the cost of sand...?
>>>Now marketing, that I'd believe;-)
>>Say it costs a billion dollars to set up the fab (which can be spread over
>>2-3 years, probably), and maybe another half billion to design the
>>processor (I don't know... 2500 work years seems like a lot, but...?)...
>>How many Pentiums does Intel make? It's kind of hard to figure out just how
>>many chips Intel makes in a given time (such being a critical aspect of
>>their profitibility), but...
>>consider that Intel Revenue for 2002 was about $27B....
>>As for marketing... in an article about P4s from April of 2001:
>>Intel has told news sources that it plans to spend roughly $500 million to
>>promote the new technology among software makers, and another $300 million
>>on general advertising.
>>Such enormous volumes are why commodity computing even works..The NRE for
>>truly high performance computing devices is spread over so many units...
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Plz feel free to jump right in, nice to have you posting on this most
exceptional list,( for the most part one of the best on the web,
IMHO)... But you do bring to mind an excellent point.. One of endless
debate since I can recall in my early days of high school science club
and launching rockets and modeling ballistic scenario's at the local
Wofford College computer lab time that Dr. Olds was so generous and kind
to provide... What we concluded then and applies equally as to the
current discussion is that cost of access to space could be greatly
reduce if we changed the launch platform to that of the earliest days of
high speed space research... such as the X-15 project... Some of us went
on to working world married a gypsy princes and so locked into a certain
destiny... Others in our class went on to places like M.I.T where they
continued to pursue their space dreams... Like David Thompson founder of
Orbital Research and the launch of the first commercial space rocket
called Project Pegasus ... Which was, in fact, first carried into space
by the same B-52 used to launch the X-15... I think recent events
clearly demonstrate that there is certainly a need to re visit this
equation.... Everything old is new again... "Generations come and
generations go... and they have no memory."
Thanks again Art, nice to have your post
Spartan sys. analyst
Spartanburg, SC 29304-0243
Fax# (801) 858-2722
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