Research Area F: Hybrid High-Performance Computing Systems and Simulation Software Engineering
Fast, faster, fastest – the computing power of computers was improved in the last decades by making their processors faster and faster. This development is now coming to a natural end. While the process of miniaturisation continues, the speed of processors is beginning to pose a problem. Put simply: the faster a processor operates, the hotter it gets. In some equipment, a square centimetre of chip already gives off more heat than a hotplate.
More power with hybrid drive
This is why SimTech’s computer scientists are branching out on new paths to develop hybrid systems for high performance computing. A simple example is a combination of two processors on one chip. One of the processors has a great deal of storage capacity and the other is especially fast. SimTech’s hybrid systems are to have tens of thousands of different processors all working on the same task at the same time.
Co-processors are also being developed to carry out even more specialised tasks e.g. in the field of graphics. If necessary, these are to be combined with the system. Programmability is a major problem so that the programmability of such a large number of different processors is also a major goal. Other important development objectives are compatible and re-usable software components as well as reconfigurable hardware components.
Against the sensitivity
New computer architectures and infrastructures must be designed to fit all components together so that they function in an optimum fashion. This new dimension in supercomputing will take time as some hardware components still have to be refined and adapted to support future high performances. For example, processors need to become less sensitive. They have to be heat-resistant and tolerant to vibrations, humidity and electromagnetic waves.
Less energy comsumption
The SimTech team is also working on improving the energy consumption of processors and increasing their tolerance to faults based on hard- and software. These robust yet flexible new systems will service all operations in all Research Areas and will be of major importance in realising SimTech’s visions.
SimTech projects related Research Area F can be found in the following Project Networks:
- PN2: Molecular simulations with high-performance and many-core computer systems
- PN5: Multi-phase and multi-physics modelling
- PN8: Integrated data management, workflow and visualisation to enable an integrative systems science