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Quantitative Evaluation of Systems, International Conference on (2005)
Torino, Italy
Sept. 19, 2005 to Sept. 22, 2005
ISBN: 0-7695-2427-3
pp: 166-167
Thomas Sterling , California Institute of Technology
Even as the high performance computing community approaches 100 Teraflops Linpack performance, challenges to supercomputer hardware and software design may impede further progress and limit scalability and performance to cost. The assumed canonical methods of harnessing distributed resources are being severely stressed by the continued advances of Moore?s law and system scaling as well as the complexities of emerging interdisciplinary applications. As we struggle into the Petaflops era, new models and metrics will be essential to guide all aspects of the evolution and application of future systems. A new generation of computer architecture such as the Cray Cascade system will employ its resources in potentially innovative ways quite different from today?s prosaic commodity clusters (or MPPs). What those semantic and physical structures should look like and how they should be employed must be determined by aggressive application of a mix of modeling and evaluation techniques. While such methods in almost all cases have been explored, their use in the design and implementation of real world systems is currently limited. This presentation will discuss the challenges to evaluating future generation Petaflops scale systems and the kinds of questions that will need to be answered that are usually not addressed in the early design cycle. Included for consideration are the baseline of optimality that should be used (today it is peak), measures of the impact of memory systems including concepts of temporal and spatial locality, cost functions for normalization of observed capabilities, and the role of statistical parametric tradeoff studies. In addition, this presentation will briefly examine issues related to user productivity and the impact of system characteristics on them. This talk will conclude that among the most important trends in advanced high end computing is the dramatic potential of quantitative evaluation of systems.

T. Sterling, "Challenges to Evaluating Petaflops Systems," Proceedings. Second International Conference on the Quantitative Evaluation of Systems(QEST), Torino, 2005, pp. 166-167.
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