153 – High-Performance Computing

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This episode is a conversation with Iain Bethune from the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Center about high-performance computing: the topic has played an implicit role in many previous omega tau episodes, and this episode treats it explicitly. We discuss different architectures (supercomputers, commodity clusters, grid computing), programming languages and software design as well as application areas.

Notes and Corrections by Iain

At 37:10 I dropped a factor of 1000 when I talked about the linpack
performance of Tianhe-2. Should have been petaflops instead of teraflops.

Coincidentally, just after we recorded I had a twitter discussion about the
use of different programming languages for HPC applications, and collected
some actual evidence to back up the estimates I made in the podcast :
http://www.prace-ri.eu/IMG/pdf/D7-4-1.pdf (figure 15). We also collected
some data from the first 6 months of the ARCHER service which suggests we
have an even more Fortran-dominated world than I had suggested:
In terms of node hours, Fortran is 66%, C++ is 6%, C is 5% and 23% are unknown.

Books suggested by Iain

Links