Feeds

Geeks fight the smelter with embedded processor-based box

The Climate Computer

Top three mobile application threats

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.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Brit boffins use TARDIS to re-route data flows through time and space
'Traffic Assignment and Retiming Dynamics with Inherent Stability' algo can save ISPs big bucks
Microsoft's Nadella: SQL Server 2014 means we're all about data
Adds new big data tools in quest for 'ambient intelligence'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.