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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