[Linux-ia64] Itanium gets supercomputing software

Michael Huntingdon hunting at ix.netcom.com
Tue Apr 15 02:01:22 EDT 2003

I'm absolutely surprised at the notion that we (you/me/and those in this
group) seem to have such advanced knowledge. Forget it. You can, at each
avenue press for what you want in terms of compute performance, and perhaps
compress an expectation into price/performance that meets an immediate
need; however, at some point in time it becomes obvious to each of us
that's it's not the chip set. 

If what we wanted/needed was an advanced CPU, Alpha would have been the
mantra ten years ago, Itanium 2 would be embraced now. Hardware waits for
advancements around software applications.

Let's be clear about what's really expected. While so many members of this
group expect answers around:
	- electrical requirements for super computing
	- cooling requirements for super computing
	- advancements in CPU rates
	- advancements in memory bandwidth
	- advancements along PCI paths
	- mainstream development for PCI-x
	- advancements in storage to system bandwidth
	- advancements along the network path
	- better effiencies within operating systems
	- drivers that allow inter operability with any number of options

Any number of groups can come up with inexpensive solutions to the above
once the industry standards are developed and the engineering is in place.
It's an inexpensive process to piggy-back on original efforts do to
investment in engineer and design. Dell, Gateway and "grey-box"
manufactures provide excellent templates. Yet when research, in the purest
form requires advancements, these are not the groups any of us look to.  

In addition to this, along with the grants that so many receive, along with
the free layered products and support available, there should somehow be
this ongoing discussion about a push for more hardware technology at x86
technology pricing?

If there is truly a dedicated and compelling requirement for advanced
technologies, perhaps some consideration should be given to what's being
asked for within research, what's needed, who is expected to deliver,
what's being delivered, and yes....some acumen specific to research and the
development of technology required to support advanced technology needs.

Let's get over ourselves folks. There are only three companies that are
going to drive technology in the for seeable future and allow the
advancements we all expect. 

Over the past several weeks I've followed speculative threads regarding
"Super Computing Environments". And although RGB has authored a great deal
of solid data, when it comes to creating and maintaining a really large
environments,  you'll want a single "throat to choke" and it won't be
Robert's. Who currently has the technology to construct huge environments
and guarantee results. I can testify that an "authorities" in the field
could not recently during the design of one of the QB3 facilities. 

My advise, look to an engineering organization who not only knows todays
technology, but can also advise you on advanced technologies that take you
3-5-7 years out. In this, you should only have to decide upon one of two
product vendors; however, you can assume either of the two can advise you
around what's possible today and perhaps as many as sever years out. Think
this might save you a (budget) dollar or two. YOU BET! I've seen it to the
tune of $500,000. It's not just the additional cost, but delays, and the
cost associated with the academic professionals who relied on the (so
called) consultants.

With so few in the commercial space investing in the future of advanced
research, I sometimes have to question how the view of those within
academic research could possible be so narrow. In academia of all places,
look around at who is trying to work with you, what each hopes to
accomplish, and how each will reinvest each dollar you spend with them.
Does your investment go to research in new technologies or marketing. This
one is a "no brainer". 

In a separate thread there is a topic of "beowulf in space", the
feasibility, the cost etc. I can't imagine this becoming a reality without
the dedication and investment of a very few select manufactures, but I'm
certain it's something I'll see in my lifetime (and I'm an old guy). It
will be smaller, lighter, cheaper, faster, more reliable.....and it won't
come from a "one off".

In another thread I recall reading about those who might have "more money
than brains". To that I would suggest that their investment in both money
and brains will trickle down, and be a benefit to all. Behind those
(implied) financial investments we will find the driving force for future
technologies that each of us will see in our data centers and research labs.

Let's see just how interesting things become.


At 07:53 PM 4/14/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>> about 1100 to 800 in favor of Pentium 4.  Bandwidth to memory as measured 
>> by stream triad is 50% better on the Itanium implying that you will get 
>> a larger percentage of peak for out-of-cache workloads.  Then there is 
>until the next-gen P4 chipsets arrive (and they have).
>> I would be interested in SPECFP and Stream Triad numbers for the 
>> Opteron if you have them.
>me too </aol>.  but if I understand AMD's marketing "plan",
>we won't see the interesting Opteron systems at launch.
>that is, since Opteron bandwidth scales with ncpus, it's 
>really the 4-8-way systems that will look dramatically 
>more attractive than any competitors (cept maybe Marvel).
>it is sort of interesting that much of It2's rep rests on 
>fairly single-threaded benchmarks (cfp2000, stream).  but I don't
>see a lot of people buying uniprocessor It2's, and all It2
>systems use a shared 6.4 GB/s FSB.  by comparison, a dual-opt
>has 10.8 GB/s aggregate, which starts to be interesting.
>I'm hoping AMD will get pumped and support PC3200 on apr 22.
>I fear that 4x and 8x systems will be late as usual.
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