Piz Daint Supercomputer Shows the Way Ahead on Efficiency

Piz Daint masters both speed and efficiency by keeping data close to its processors

3 min read
Piz Daint Supercomputer Shows the Way Ahead on Efficiency
More Flops, Less Watts: The Piz Daint supercomputer gets high marks for both speed and efficiency.
Photo: CSCS

Scan the latest list of the 10 most powerful supercomputers and the list of the top 10 most energy efficient and you’ll see that only one name appears on both. The Piz Daint supercomputer is both the sixth most powerful machine in the world and the fourth most energy efficient. It’s also one of only two supercomputers in the top 10 of the efficiency ranking (the Green500) that’s capable of maintaining petaflops performance—a million billion floating-point operations per second. How it managed to make its mark in both categories could point the way to both more powerful and more efficient future machines.

“What I’m seeing is that energy efficiency is increasingly becoming a first-order design constraint that is on par with performance,” says Wu Feng, one of the Green500’s leaders and a professor of computer engineering at Virginia Tech. “It’s not going to be any good to be high performance but so power hungry that you don’t even have the budget to power or cool the system.”

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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