[Beowulf] China Wrests Supercomputer Title From U.S.

Bill Rankin Bill.Rankin at sas.com
Fri Oct 29 10:40:24 EDT 2010


Douglas:

> > [...]
> > What this machine does do is validate to some extent the continued
> use and development of GPUs in an HPC/cluster setting.
> > [...]
> 
> Nvidia claims Tianhe-1A's 4.04 megawatts of CUDA GPUs and Xeon CPUs is
> three times more power efficient than CPUs alone.  The Nvidia press
> release is at http://bit.ly/d9VNtY

Numbers game.  Lies, damned lies, and benchmarks. :-)

I image if they had quartered the number of CPU cores and doubled the number of GPUs per node, they could have gotten even larger HPL numbers without significantly increasing their power footprint.  But they didn't.  Why?  Perhaps because even though it would have been "more powerful" on paper, it probably would not run real applications any faster.

Making "revolutionary" claims like these that are based on extrapolation of a single (and very questionable) data point like HPL illustrates that someone has not yet put in the time and/or effort to properly analyze the system and understand what is being presented.

But it makes for good news copy.


-b


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