DR. JACK DONGARRA ON HPC’S CHANGING ARCHITECTURE

by Andrew Humber

In his presentation at NVIDIA’s SC09 booth, Dr. Jack Dongarra, described his latest research and how he views the evolving HPC architecture.  At the University of Tennessee, Dongarra has expanded his research from traditional HPC computers with multi-core CPUs to hybrid computers that include GPU accelerators— where the GPU and CPU cooperate in a coprocessing model to greatly increase the performance of parallel applications.

SC09 Dr. Jack Donbarra
Dongarra indicated that he views scientific, HPC computing as a continuum, with researchers doing computing on PCs equipped with GPUs all the way up to multi-core systems capable of performing exascale calculations. “Small PC-based systems with GPUs are important in research because they are cost effective, accelerate processing speed and also save researchers time,” states Dongarra.

Dongarra believes that the scientific HPC community must take on the challenge of determining how to incorporate hybrid architectures into the HPC environment. “I am encouraged by the performance of GPUs and look forward to GPU accelerators becoming part of the process. But our scientific community must develop an understanding of the impact of GPUs and create standards relating to GPU processing.  I look forward to working on these standards,” states Dongarra.