Feeds

Geeks fight the smelter with embedded processor-based box

The Climate Computer

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Looking past even a laptop chip, they're studying how to make a very powerful machine around customized embedded processors.

This so-called Climate Computer could run on myriad multi-core 650MHz chips and consume just a fraction of power compared to, say, an Opteron-based cluster or an IBM BlueGene machine, according to Simon.

Comparison of the Cloud Computer to Opteron and Blue Gene Machines

The Climate Computer

"We can get the same computer power at one-twentieth of the power consumption," Simon said.

You can catch a proposed layout for a Climate Computer here.

Simon sees this type of experiment as being necessary for a world in which computer centers will consume between 20MW and 130MW. (All of Berkeley's labs today consume 20MW total.)

The researchers look to work on this project "for about a year so and then go to the Department of Energy and say, 'We are ready to the build the real prototype.'"

The highest-end computer users will balk at any performance trade offs, but a many-cored system with such low power consumption may prove attractive in three to four years to a large set of less demanding customers, especially when you consider complementary trends.

All of the major chip makers will continue to release processors with more and more cores, forcing software makers to craft better multi-threaded code. Around these general purpose chips we're seeing a rise of accelerators from the graphics and FPGA realms, which also require improved coding techniques.

With tens and hundreds of cores floating about on each chip and accelerators, the processor almost becomes a modern day version of what the transistor was 30 to 40 years ago, Simon noted. As hardware and software vendors embrace this notion, even systems running on very low power chips stand to demonstrate remarkable performance at cranking through software threads.

Large service providers like Google and Microsoft will likely continue with their current plans.

"But that is not the wave of the future," Simon said. "(Those systems) will remain for the big players, but the mainstream will switch directions in the decade."

Utility computing bigots might argue that average customers will tap into centralized systems before something like a solid embedded processor-based machine makes it to market. Such criticism, however, relies on an awful lot of prognostication.

It's refreshing to find computer scientists returning to the extreme low-power idea as these larger shifts in computing take place because the Green Destiny concept once exhibited a great deal of potential.®

Bootnote

The presentation about the Climate Simulator pilot project can be found here in PDF. A detailed article in the International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications can be found here in PDF as well. A lot of the original work has been done by John Shalf, Lenny Oliker, and Michael Wehner, the three authors of this paper.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.