[Beowulf] massive parallel processing application required

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Thu Feb 1 11:50:50 EST 2007


> Moore's Law (which has grown in scope since Moore) applies to the aggregate
> effect of many technologies. Individual techs proceed in fits and starts.

well, specifically it applies to fields there the primary metric 
is a function of density.  for instance, disk capacity is on an 
exponential, since it's a product of in-track and inter-track density.
just like chips, where each linear shrink of 1/sqrt(2) leads to a 
doubling of devices in the same area.

in both cases, these curves are sometimes strongly modulated by "quantum"
shifts in the technology (perhaps multi-gate transistors, or the succeeding
generations of disk heads - perhaps patterned media upcoming.)

in networking, I see generational shifts, but no area-driven exponential.
so I think the application of moore's law to networking is mistaken...

> Predictions about FLOPS/dollar seem to be sustainable, but e.g. I predict a
> jump in chip density when the price point of vapor deposition manufactured
> diamond gets low enough (diamond conducts heat way better than silicon, and
> chips are suffering from thermodynamics limits).

excellent example of a generational shift, rather than part of the 
relentless sequence of shrinks.  (I guess you could argue that there are 
generational aspects to the shrink/area thing too, since, for instance,
visible-optical gave way to UV and presumably eventually immersion litho.
or maybe it'll be imprint litho next.)

> When AT&T divested, you could not get a decent telephone anymore; they were
> too expensive to make so well. Then after years of crummy phones, suddenly
> everyone had a cell-phone just like Captain Kirk's.

I guess that's more of an economic network effect.  but am I alone in
thinking that cellphones are one of the suckiest products on the market?
(the phones themselves are OK; it's the bundling and customer-screwage
I'm not fond of.  imagine if your phone was an ipv6 device and contained
an agent that simply negotiated quality*byte rates with whatever connectivity
supplier happend to have good signal strength locally...)

> Sure I want fiber optics to my house. But maybe the power company will carry
> data on the wasted bandwidth of power lines. Keep the faith :-)

call me an unrealistic idealist, but I'm hoping for wimax-like stuff
(perhaps with some nice subversive/grassroots mesh routing) to eliminate
the incredibly annoying cell monopolies.

regards, mark.
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