Big data and Exascale are two themes that cropped up last year and will no doubt be heavily discussed this year. But why? For Exascale at least, for the mere mortals on the street they will not even get close to it in the next 5 years – if not ever. Why invest such large sums of cash and time when focusing on what you do best i.e. the science, R&D etc is a better return on your investment.
That does not mean to say it is an irrelevant discussion. For some, Exascale might be required over short bursts or for specific highly intensive projects. OCF is seeing some ‘jostling’ in the world of academia, with academics seriously looking at Exascale, but the reality is there will be very few implementations that are Exascale, if any in UK academia. Let the Leviathans – IBM, HP, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, the global Telecoms providers – build the framework and infrastructure. Let specialist HPC service providers sit on top of this infrastructure providing the key skills to interface between Leviathans and the man, or woman, in the lab.
In my opinion the pursuit of Exascale will deliver the same sorts of benefits for the man (or woman) in the lab that the US Space Programme did – not everyone has a Saturn 5 rocket but we’ve all got Teflon coated pans somewhere. Look for the spinoffs that you can adopt and put to effective use. Faster inter-connects, better parallelism, lower power consumption etc…