Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Live Blog of the SC08 Keynote - Michael Dell


Here we go with the Welcome and Keynote for SC08. Michael Dell is the keynote speaker this year.

Patricia Teller from UTexas is the General Chair of the conference, and she welcomed the audience with the news that the conference is setting a number of records this year, including the number of exhibits, education attendees, and a total of more than 10,000 attendees this year.

This is the 20th anniversay of SC, and a video retrospective included a clip of the Seymour Cray keynote, where he joked that his 10" slide rule was the leading edge of computing power.

9:07 - There have been nine companies who have been involved in sponsoring all 21 SC conferences: Cray, HPCWire, IBM, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NASA, NEC, Numerical Algorithms Group, and Sun Microsystems.

9:10 - Michael Dell is introduced.

Michael says it takes 20 Pflops to model human brain, which runs on 20 watts(!). Japanese are spending $1.8B on a 10 Pflop system.

9:18 - Dell is announcing today they are extending their partnership with nVidia to add Tesla cards to their precision workstations, which will deliver one Tflop to the desktop.

9:19 - 489 of the Top500 supercomputers are based on the x86 architecture.

9:21 - Video of the vis wall at TACC, which is powered by Dell gaming systems. They are using it to support a cancer researcher who noted that we have reached a point where we can generate 250 TB of data for a single cell. The picture is part of a rotating 3D model from the cancer research.

9:26 - Technology advancements 0ver the last five years - you get more Tflops with 90% fewer systems. We need to build petascale software to take advantage of petascale hardware.

9:30 - 70% of HPC budgets go to staffing and facilities.

9:31 - Facebook utilizes 10,000 Dell servers.

9:36 - Brief video - review of the various generations, baby boomers, X, Y... the next generation is the regeneration.

9:37 - Q & A - Michael clarifies that his reference to the brain at the beginning was not to suggest that we need to recreate the brain, but simply to compare current HPC to the brain. "There are enormous opportunities to improve the man-machine interface."

9:43 - Question about his vision for education. He responds that public education needs to be delivering students familiar and at ease with 21st century technology - "it's as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic."

9;46: Question about alternative energy. Normal desktop uses $120 in energy a year, new Dell system uses $6 year. This isn't a source of new energy, but it does dramatically reduce the demand. Also, Dell is one of the first companies to become carbon neutral - you'll see companies begin to compete in this area.

9:50 - Another energy question - how to push component vendors to improve? Dell's suppliers report back on their carbon emissions, it's one of the things that Dell evaluates them on.

9:51 - Keynote is done.

1 comment:

sister Laura said...

Whut's a Tflop? You ken tell me at Christmas if'n you want... :]