Publications / Report

Radiation transport algorithms on trans-petaflops supercomputers of different architectures

DeBenedictis, Erik; Christopher, Thomas W.

We seek to understand which supercomputer architecture will be best for supercomputers at the Petaflops scale and beyond. The process we use is to predict the cost and performance of several leading architectures at various years in the future. The basis for predicting the future is an expanded version of Moore's Law called the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). We abstract leading supercomputer architectures into chips connected by wires, where the chips and wires have electrical parameters predicted by the ITRS. We then compute the cost of a supercomputer system and the run time on a key problem of interest to the DOE (radiation transport). These calculations are parameterized by the time into the future and the technology expected to be available at that point. We find the new advanced architectures have substantial performance advantages but conventional designs are likely to be less expensive (due to economies of scale). We do not find a universal ''winner'', but instead the right architectural choice is likely to involve non-technical factors such as the availability of capital and how long people are willing to wait for results.