March 9, 2018

Supercomputing under a New Lens: A Sandia-Developed Benchmark Re-ranks Top Computers

A Sandia National Laboratories software program now installed as an additional test for the widely observed TOP500 supercomputer challenge has become increasingly prominent. The program’s full name — High Performance Conjugate Gradients, or HPCG — doesn’t come trippingly to the tongue, but word is seeping out that this relatively new benchmarking program is becoming as valuable as its venerable partner — the High Performance LINPACK program — which some say has become less than satisfactory in measuring many of today’s computational challenges.

“The LINPACK program used to represent a broad spectrum of the core computations that needed to be performed, but things have changed,” said Sandia researcher Mike Heroux, who created and developed the HPCG program. “The LINPACK program performs compute-rich algorithms on dense data structures to identify the theoretical maximum speed of a supercomputer. Today’s applications often use sparse data structures, and computations are leaner.”

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