Stephen Wong is the Deputy Director at A*Star Computational Resource Centre (A*CRC) and he talked about the future of HPC in the next 10 years. Stephen went on to define HPC so that everyone at the conference understood where Singapore stood in terms of computational capacity. Take note that there are no Super Computers in Singapore.
Delving a little deeper, Stephen went on to describe the basics of a HPC system from the Computing Nodes, Interconnect, Accelerators, Operating System, Programming and Fil Systems. Trends were discussed and from the past trends it looks like x86 architecture will dominate the short term. The use of accelerators will not be so widespread. Infiniband will dominate the Interconnect while the operating system of choice will continue to be Linux. The likelihood of Cloud use is limited because in many cases the data set is so huge that it takes even longer to send and receive the data than it would to just do the computation in house.
It is also apparent that the next 10 years of supercomputing is up in the air. As it stands the power requirements to reach Exascale without a breakthrough in hardware design is going to approach that of a nuclear powerplant. The power challenge is not alone as the nodes scale into thousands it becomes difficult to program, the memory size per mflop, IO are barely able to keep up today and that doesn’t count the volume of data.
Singapore is lagging behind by about 6 to 7 years in terms of performance. Expect Singapore to hit a Petaflop in 2015 or 2016 based on the lag.