The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Better Benchmarking for Supercomputers

The usual yardstick is not a good metric

3 min read

Imagine a world in which a car's performance is judged solely by the time it takes to go from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour, ignoring fuel efficiency and other metrics. This, in essence, is the state of supercomputing today, says a group of U.S. computer scientists. People today typically judge supercomputers in terms of their raw number-crunching power, for example by asking how many linear algebra problems they can solve in a second. But, the scientists argue, the lion's share of challenging supercomputing problems in the 2010s requires quick and efficient processing of petabyte and exabyte-size data sets. And good number crunchers are sometimes bad exascale sifters.

It's time, the researchers say, for high-performance computers to be rated not just in petaflops (quadrillions of floating-point operations per second) but also in "gigateps" (billions of traversed edges per second).

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Vertical
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton
Pink

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}