Sidebar: Exascale expert says US efforts have failed

As multicore processing deals with physical and implementation walls, Exascale computing has hit both philosophical and fiscal walls.  Thomas Sterling has been delivering the the depressing news that DARPA had given up on the current path of computing architecture, which means funding goes away as well.

 

Sterling, an Indiana University professor and a former distinquished visiting fellow at Sandia Labs , said the efforts of the past year has been "a disappointment"  and have created the need for radical experimentation outside the current realm of development.

 

"The disappointment has come from DARPA; the agency historically noted for leading HPC system research and development, Sterling said.  "OHPC was an explicitly Exascale technologies-related program that would have augmented the principal UHPC projects. OHPC was cancelled shortly after the awards were made and there appears little likelihood that UHPC will extend beyond its first phase although it was originally planned for four such phases to produce final proof-of-concept experimental platforms."

 

Sterling blamed the "relatively narrow view exerted as to how the problem of Exascale software should be addressed with strong resistance to considering revolutionary approaches."  He said those advocating radical change have been given short leashes while conventional practices are given preference. "This intransigence has spilled over to the US debate as a whole, slowing down progress in needed advances."

 

Sterling pointed out that more radical approaches the computing architecture are getting better play in arenas outside the US.

 

For an indepth article focusing on the latest advances in Multicore see: The roads less traveled around multicore walls