The future of supercomputing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


For over two decades, supercomputing evolved in a relatively straightforward manner: Supercomputers were assembled out of commodity microprocessors and leveraged their exponential increase in performance, due to Moore's Law. This simple model has been under stress since clock speed stopped growing a decade ago: Increased performance has required a commensurate increase in the number of concurrent threads. The evolution of device technology is likely to be even less favorable in the coming decade: The growth in CMOS performance is nearing its end, and no alternative technology is ready to replace CMOS. The continued shrinking of device size requires increasingly expensive technologies, and may not lead to improvements in cost/performance ratio; at which point, it ceases to make sense for commodity technology. These obstacles need not imply stagnation in supercomputer performance. In the long run, new computing models will come to the rescue. In the short run, more exotic, non-commodity device technologies can provide two or more orders of magnitude improvements in performance. Finally, better hardware and software architectures can significantly increase the efficiency of scientific computing platforms. While continued progress is possible, it will require a significant international research effort and major investments in future large-scale "computational instruments".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICS 2014 - Proceedings of the 28th ACM International Conference on Supercomputing
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages2
ISBN (Print)9781450326421
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event28th ACM International Conference on Supercomputing, ICS 2014 - Munich, Germany
Duration: Jun 10 2014Jun 13 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Supercomputing


Other28th ACM International Conference on Supercomputing, ICS 2014


  • exascale
  • high-performance computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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