FWD (SK) The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing

From: Terry W. Colvin (fortean1@frontiernet.net)
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 08:51:54 MDT

I'm thinking there's more than a tad bit of corporate progaganda involved
here. Oh yeah, it was forwarded to me by a cousin of mine (who does actually
work for the US gov) via my mum.

Any comments?


> This article on ASCI White was excerpted from:
> The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing
> July 10, 2000
> "More Things Tiny & Shiny, Than Big & Beige"
> --------------------------------------------
> by Jeffrey R. Harrow
> Principal Member of Technical Staff
> Technology & Corporate Development,
> Compaq Computer Corporation
> jeff.harrow@compaq.com
> <mailto:jeff.harrow@compaq.com>
> Insight, analysis and commentary on the innovations and trends
> of contemporary computing, and on the technologies that drive them
> (not necessarily the views of Compaq Computer Corporation).
> http://www.compaq.com/rcfoc
> <http://www.compaq.com/rcfoc>
> ISSN: 1520-8117
> Copyright (c)2000, Compaq Computer Corporation
> Serious Computing.
> Imagine a computer so fast that in one day, it can perform a simulation
> that would take a 1995 Cray supercomputer five and a half years.
> Imagine a $110 million computer 1,000 times faster than the
> three-year-old Deep Blue computer, which calculated 200 million chess
> moves every second to defeat chess grand master Gary Kasparov.
> Imagine this computer, composed of 8,192 processors in a massively
> parallel arrangement filling two basketball courts, with six terabytes
> of main memory and 160 terabytes of disk space, which performs 12.3
> "trillion floating point operations every second," (that's 12.3
> "teraflops," which is three times faster than its closest competitor -
> http://www.ibm.com/news/2000/06/29.phtml
> <http://www.ibm.com/news/2000/06/29.phtml> ). For comparison, a high-end
> PC delivers about 1 billion operations per second, or one thousandth of
> just one of these 12.3 teraflops -
> http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/tech/CuttingEdge/cuttingedge.html
> <http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/tech/CuttingEdge/cuttingedge.html> .
> Imagine such a computer simulating nuclear weapons tests to the point
> where scientists can watch the activity of individual atoms.
> Imagine these things, and you'll have a picture of IBM's "ASCI White,"
> which they're now delivering to Lawrence Livermore Labs. IBM's Jim
> Jardine, referring to ASCI White's simulations in the June 29 Wired
> News (http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37285-2,00.html
> <http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37285-2,00.html> )
> says,
> "...Physicists come away with a feeling of awe. They say: 'That's
> what it looks like.' They finally get to see the physics."
> Which is rather impressive, as it allows us to peer directly into the
> realm of the unimaginably tiny to actually see, rather than infer,
> what's going on. And it will benefit universities for non-weapons
> research as well, helping us to better understand how to harness the
> very building blocks of matter.
> But we're never satisfied. To get to the even tinier level of detail
> that some scientists want, a "mere" 12.3 teraflops supercomputer is but
> a toy -- they want 100 teraflops! And as outrageous as that
> expectation may seem, they may only have to wait about four more years.
> Ray Kurzweil, in a keynote to PC Expo, points out that not only are
> things changing fast these days, but the rate of change itself is
> increasing (http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1006-200-2174164.html
> <http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1006-200-2174164.html> ),
> "An improvement that would take 20 years to develop at today's rate
> of innovation will take only 10 years to achieve in 2010. By 2020,
> it will take 5 years."
> Which is at the heart of the rapidly changing face of computing! For
> example, scientists at both IBM and Lawrence Livermore estimate that
> the power in ASCI White will be
> "...the widely affordable workstation of choice within a decade."
> It boggles the mind. No wonder the computer you bought just a little
> while ago now seems slow.
> And I hate to tell you, but depending on your perspective, it's only
> going to get "worse" (or "better")...

Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA)
< fortean1@frontiernet.net >
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