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DARPA Investigates Extreme Supercomputing

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Future network-tethered sensor systems will be capable of unleashing an enormous amount of data, so a new breed of supercomputers will be needed to make sense of it. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is considering starting the Ubiquitous High Performance Computing (UHPC) program, and is giving the industry until July 27 to respond to its request for information on its structure and goals. "The UHPC program is seeking solutions that will explore the technologies and architectures required to enable the development of revolutionary computing architectures and systems and overcome 'business as usual' advances," says the request for information (RFI).

Supercomputers need to be smarter and faster, but also smaller and less power-consumptive. The systems should be able to execute 50 billion floating-point operations/second per watt of power, with each floating-point operation running at under 20 picojoules per operation, compared to the thousands of picojoules now required to carry out such an operation. And the underlying hardware would make writing programs much easier. The operating system and runtime solutions will have to "behave like a self-aware system that 'learns' to address a particular problem by building self-performance models, responding to user goals, and adapting to changing goals, resources, models, operating conditions and even to failures," the RFI says.

From Government Computer News
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