Contemporary Supercomputing: Opportunities for Science and Challenges for Computer Engineering

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About Simons Foundation Lectures

Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
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President Obama’s July 2015 Executive Order, which established a National Strategic Computing Initiative, ensures that the U.S. will make substantial investments in the development of exascale computing systems. While this opens many opportunities in science, construction of such systems calls for new approaches to software, mathematical algorithms and systems engineering.

In this lecture, Dr. Schulthess will show how recent developments in architecture have moved us away from traditional abstractions, forcing software development and mathematical algorithms to acknowledge the physical reality of computing systems. Data locality and asynchrony will be key to the effective use of exascale computing systems. Furthermore, the dusk of complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) scaling is increasing the diversity of computer architectures. This is profoundly challenging to software development and systems engineering, but at the same time, it opens many new opportunities for science. A strategy to manage this software challenge will be discussed in terms of recent experiences in numerical weather predictions.

About the Speaker

Thomas Schulthess is director of the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) and a professor for computational physics at ETH Zürich. He received his Ph.D. in 1994 from ETH Zürich and spent many years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where today he holds a distinguished visiting scientist appointment. While his primary research is on computational methods for materials science, he recently took interest in the development of energy-efficient computing systems for climate modeling and meteorology.

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