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Research and Applications in Global Supercomputing



Research and Applications in Global Supercomputing

Author: Richard S. Segall

Publisher: IGI Global

Genres:

Publish Date: January 31, 2015

ISBN-10: 146667461X

Pages: 672

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Supercomputers are the fastest computers and the backbone of Computational Sciences. By processing and generating vast amounts of data with unparalleled speed, they make new developments and research possible. The hardware structure or the architecture of supercomputers determines to a large extent the efficiency of supercomputing systems. Another important element that is considered is the ability of the compilers to generate efficient code to be executed on a given hardware platform. While the supercomputers of the 1970s used only a few processors and the supercomputers by the end of the 20th century were massively parallel computing systems composed of tens of thousands of processors, the supercomputers of the 21st century can use over 100,000 processors connected by fast connections.

This book is designed to cover a broad range of topics in the field of supercomputing. As a result, it will be an excellent source on this topic. It is primarily intended for professionals, researchers, students, and practitioners who want to more fully understand the realm and technology of supercomputing and how it has been used to solve large-scale research problems in a multitude of disciplines. Because each chapter is designed to be stand-alone, the reader can focus on the topics that most interest him/her. Supercomputers are used today for highly intensive calculation tasks for projects ranging from quantum physics, weather forecasting, molecular modeling, and physical simulations. Supercomputers can be used for simulations of airplanes in wind tunnels, detonations of nuclear weapons, splitting electrons, and helping researchers study how drugs combat the swine flu virus. Supercomputing can be in the form of grid computing, in which the processing power of a large number of computers is distributed, or in the form of computer clusters, in which a large number of processors are used in close proximity to each other. In 2012, the Cray XK7 “Titan” at the United States Department of Energy (DOE) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) located in Tennessee was the fastest supercomputer in the world at 17.59 petaflops, consuming 8209 kilowatts of power using 560,640 cores (Top500, 2012). However, in 2014, according to the Top500 listing of November 2013, China outplaced the United States with the fastest supercomputer named Tianhe-2 for the “MilkyWay-2” built by NUDT and located at National Super Computer Center in Guangzhou with 33.86 petaflops consuming 17,808 kilowatts of power with 3,120,000 cores (Top500, 2013; see Appendix).

According to Wikipedia webpages titled “Supercomputing in India,” the Indian Government has proposed to commit 2.5 billion in Unites States Dollars (USD) to supercomputing research during the 12th five-year plan period (2012-2017). The project will be handled by Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Additionally, it was later revealed that India plans to develop a supercomputer with processing power in the exaflop range (Supercomputing in India, n.d.). The objective of this book is to present the concepts of supercomputing, explore its technologies and their applications, and develop a broad understanding of issues pertaining to the use of supercomputing in multidisciplinary fields. The book aims to highlight the historical and technical background; architecture; programming systems; storage, visualization, analytics, state of practice in industry, universities, and government; and numerous applications ranging from such areas as computational earth and atmospheric sciences to computational medicine.

Readers would utilize this book as a unified presentation of a spectrum of up-to-date research and applications topics on supercomputing. The collection of chapters could interest the readers to do subsequent research in supercomputing, as well as be used in teaching courses in supercomputing. The book is focused on the structure, practice, and applications of supercomputing such as represented by the following topics: background of supercomputing; supercomputing architecture; clouds, clusters, and grids; programming systems for supercomputers; storage, visualization, and analytics for supercomputers including data mining for high performance computing; state of practice of supercomputers; and applications of supercomputers from bioinformatics to data-enabled social science.


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