Wednesday, December 3, 2008

20 Years of SC

This being the twentieth anniversary of SC, they had a large exhibit in one corner of the convention center with some pretty interesting items. Each year of the conference had a display, including technology from the time as well as items from the conference.

A main attraction at the exhibit was a Cray-1 from the mid 70's, originally installed at Los Alamos. This system cost ~$8M and provided 80 MFLOPS of processing power. The MacBook Pro in my backpack delivers more than 200 times the processing power (16 GFLOPS), and that is only 1/100,000th the power of the current leading supercomputing cluster (RoadRunner).

There were also components from later Crays (the X1, from ~five years ago)

as well as a board from BlueGene-L from the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

They had some posters with stats on the conference, it's interesting to note that conference attendance was relatively flat during the ten years from 1991-2001, but that it's roughly doubled since then. Another chart documented an increase of five orders of magnitude in both processing power and number of CPUs over the twenty years.

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