Distinguished Computer Science Colloquium: Marc Snir (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): High-Performance Computing in the Next Decade

22.05.2017 16:15

ETH Zurich Distinguished Computer Science Colloquium

Talk by Marc Snir, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA: High-Performance Computing in the Next Decade

Monday, 22 May 2017 16:15 - 17:15, CAB G 61

The talk is followed by an apéro in the CAB Foyer to which all colloquium attendees are invited.

Host: Torsten Hoefler


The insatiable need of applications for more performance, as well as the desire for national prestige, is pushing several countries into ambitious exascale computing program. Exascale systems are likely to be deployed at the same time as when Moore’s Law is coming to an end. Two of the goals of the US exascale initiatives are: (1) Accelerating delivery of a capable exascale computing system that integrates hardware and software capability to deliver approximately 100 times the performance of current 10 petaflop systems across a range of applications representing government needs. (2) Establishing, over the next 15 years, a viable path forward for future HPC systems even after the limits of current semiconductor technology are reached (the “Post- Moore’s Law Era”). While there is reasonable confidence that the first goal can be achieved, it is much less clear that the second one is viable. As feature shrinking stops providing significant performance improvements, gains will have to come from new packaging, new architectures, and different software. Many of the gains will be “one-off” and specific to HPC, rather than resulting from the evolution of commodity technology. This will require significant changes in the HPC ecosystem. The talk will discuss these implications of the end of Moore’s Law on the future of HPC.


Marc Snir is Michael Faiman Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at the Argonne National Laboratory from 2011 to 2016 and head of the Computer Science Department at Illinois from 2001 to 2007. Until 2001 he was a senior manager at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center where he led the Scalable Parallel Systems research group that was responsible for major contributions to the IBM SP scalable parallel system and to the IBM Blue Gene system. He is AAAS Fellow, ACM Fellow and IEEE Fellow. He has Erdos number 2 and is a mathematical descendant of Jacques Salomon Hadamard. He recently won the IEEE Award for Excellence in Scalable Computing and the IEEE Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award.