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Keys to Exascale are Improving Power and Programming Efficiency

Over at the Nvidia Blog, George Middleton writes that Chief Scientist Bill Dally’s ISC keynote discussed how power efficiency and application efficiency are some of the toughest Exascale challenges.

Reaching exascale, according to Dally, will require a 25x improvement in energy efficiency – 50 gigaflops (or billion floating point operations per second) per watt vs. the 2 gigaflops per watt from today’s most efficient systems. And, contrary to what some believe, manufacturing process advances alone will not achieve this goal. At best, this will only deliver about a 2.2x improvement in performance per watt, leaving an energy efficiency gap of 12x that will need to be reached by other means. Dally believes that a combination of more efficient circuit design and better processor architectures can help close the gap – delivering 3x and 4x improvements in performance per watt, respectively. Dally’s engineering team at NVIDIA is exploring a number of new approaches, including utilizing hierarchical register files, two-level scheduling, optimizing temporal SIMT, and other advanced techniques – all designed to maximize energy efficiency in every way possible.

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