Spain Builds Supercomputer With Cellphone Chips

18 Nov

Spain is well know for the sun, the happiness and the fiesta but here we also make some interesting HI-tech stuff, the Barcelona Supercomputer Center is building a supercomputer with mobile chips, the big problem of those supercomputers are the energy consumption and the generated heat, the Barcelona Supercomputer Center is solving this problem using the ARM low-power chip architecture that powers most of the smartphones and tablets that we use everyday.

The Barcelona Supercomputer Center is showing its ARM-based design at the SC11 Conference this week in Seattle, and it aims to demonstrate a 4- to 10-fold improvement in energy efficiency over today’s most energy-efficient supercomputers by 2014.

The Barcelona project isn’t the only one tapping embedded processors for supercomputers. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are building their own ultra-low-power processor using an embedded-processor-building toolkit from Tensilica. And the Barcelona project isn’t the only ultra-low-power supercomputer effort using NVIDIA’s architecture. NVIDIA is leading one of four projects under the DARPA Ubiquitous High Performance Computing program, which is encouraging development of prototype energy-efficient exascale supercomputers by 2018.

The DARPA UHPC projects are attacking the problem by going back to the drawing board on every aspect of supercomputing, from chips to applications. The Barcelona researchers, in contrast, are aiming to see how far they can go with off-the-shelf hardware.

Source: WIRED

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