The international exascale software project: A call to cooperative action by the global high-performance community

Jack Dongarra, Pete Beckman, Patrick Aerts, Frank Cappello, Thomas Lippert, Satoshi Matsuoka, Paul Messina, Terry Moore, Rick Stevens, Anne Trefethen, Mateo Valero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last 20 years, the open-source community has provided more and more software on which the world's high-performance computing systems depend for performance and productivity. The community has invested millions of dollars and years of effort to build key components. Although the investments in these separate software elements have been tremendously valuable, a great deal of productivity has also been lost because of the lack of planning, coordination, and key integration of technologies necessary to make them work together smoothly and efficiently, both within individual petascale systems and between different systems. A repository gatekeeper and an email discussion list can coordinate open-source development within a single project, but there is no global mechanism working across the community to identify critical holes in the overall software environment, spot opportunities for beneficial integration, or specify requirements for more careful coordination. It seems clear that this completely uncoordinated development model will not provide the software needed to support the unprecedented parallelism required for peta/exascale computation on millions of cores, or the flexibility required to exploit new hardware models and features, such as transactional memory, speculative execution, and GPUs. We believe the community must work together to prepare for the challenges of exascale computing, ultimately combing their efforts in a coordinated International Exascale Software Project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-322
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of High Performance Computing Applications
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Applications
  • Exascale
  • International
  • Scientific computing
  • Software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture


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