DARPA wants exaflop computing within the decade

Current models of computing evolution are "inadequate," DARPA says.

DARPA has begun a new initiative titled OHPC (Omnipresent High Performance Computing) under the umbrella of its existing UHPC (Ubiquitous High Performance Computing) project.

It's a solicitation for new developments in the broad scheme of computing--faster hardware, more storage, better power management, better heat dissipation, simpler software.

Why the need for a separate initiative? Aren't those developments going to happen anyway?

DARPA says:

"To meet the relentlessly increasing demands for greater performance, higher energy efficiency, ease of programmability, system dependability, and security, revolutionary new research, development, and design will be essential to enable new generations of advanced DoD computing system capabilities and new classes of computer applications. Current evolutionary approaches to progress in computer designs are inadequate."

Essentially, we're not developing fast enough. Processing speed, heat, internal architecture--none of this will be able to keep up with Moore's law in the future.

And hardware isn't even the only stumbling block: Software needs updating too.

Here are some of the "topics of interest":

- Research on self aware system software, including operating system, runtime system, I/O system, system management/administration, resource management and means of exposing resources, and external environments

- Research on hardware, software and language design that enables highly programmable systems, which reduces the need for users to be aware of system complexity, including heterogeneous cores, the memory hierarchy, etc.

Energy use seems to be a high priority as well. Research on low power circuits is sought, along with any developments in energy efficiency.

As computing power rises, so does energy use, an undesirable trend. DARPA hopes to find ways to increase ability without increasing energy use quite so much.

And if you're wondering why this is all so vague, it's because this is not much more than a call to arms --DARPA is aiming to encourage development of next-gen computing systems, and of course nobody knows quite what that will look like.

DARPA is aiming for a 2018 launch of these UHPC systems.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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