Even supercomputers have their limits

Even supercomputers have their limits

Summary: Australian scientists fret about processing capacity; see cloud computing as a solution.

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We often hear stats and chatter about all the underutilized servers and other IT resources sprawled across enterprises. However, it's important to remember that any resources out there will inevitably get soaked up for something.

As a report in ComputerWorld Australia recently observed, even supercomputers have their limits:

"An 'infinite' demand for Australia’s supercomputing resources could threaten the quality of climate change science if more high performance computing isn’t found, a leading academic in the field has warned. ... Demand for supercomputer access is not only coming from the climate science community. Australia’s bid for the $2.1 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope is a major driver behind the creation of the Pawsey high performance computing centre. In fact, demand for processing power has driven key players behind the SKA to explore the use of grid-based cloud computing, with the aim of potentially harvesting the computing and storage power of desktops worldwide."

One more potential use case for cloud. Before "cloud computing" entered our lexicon, grid computing was a huge topic, and seen as the way forward to address unpredictability in workloads with a lot of flexibility. Grid is still here, of course, and it's interesting to see how it's been subsumed into the cloud.

Topics: Cloud, Hardware, Servers, Storage

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3 comments
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  • RE: Even supercomputers have their limits

    "quality of climate change science". What quality would this be? From everything I have read lately the numbers are all forged anyhow. The climate is always changing one way or another. It is called nature.
    Test Subject
  • RE: Even supercomputers have their limits

    <b><i>"if more high performance computing isn???t found"</i></b> ... riiiiight.

    It's not like there are vast arrays of CPU's for hire at pretty nominal costs (e.g. <a href='http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/'>here</a>, <a href='http://aws.amazon.com/'>here</a> and <a href='http://www.rackspace.com/'>here</a>) which could actually result in vast cost savings by not having a ton of CPU horsepower sitting around idle for large periods of time.
    bitcrazed
  • RE: Even supercomputers have their limits

    They act like this is something new. It's the same SETI and all those @home distributed computing systems.
    Aerowind