New Standard Proposed for Supercomputing

A new supercomputer rating system will be released by an international team led by Sandia National Laboratories at the Supercomputing Conference 2010 in New Orleans on Nov. 17.

The rating system, Graph500, tests supercomputers for their skill in analyzing large, graph-based structures that link the huge numbers of data points present in biological, social and security problems, among other areas.

“By creating this test, we hope to influence computer makers to build computers with the architecture to deal with these increasingly complex problems,” Sandia researcher Richard Murphy said.

Rob Leland, director of Sandia’s Computations, Computers, and Math Center, said, “The thoughtful definition of this new competitive standard is both subtle and important, as it may heavily influence computer architecture for decades to come.” The group isn’t trying to compete with Linpack, the current standard test of supercomputer speed, Murphy said. “There have been lots of attempts to supplant it, and our philosophy is simply that it doesn’t measure performance for the applications we need, so we need another, hopefully complementary, test,” he said. Many scientists view Linpack as a “plain vanilla” test mechanism that tells how fast a computer can perform basic calculations, but has little relationship to the actual problems the machines must solve. Continue reading …

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