David Kirkpatrick

May 20, 2010

The latest supercomputer concept — atomtronic computers

This is a really wild idea, and truly once we are able to manipulate individual atoms in this way supercomputing will only be one of the amazing things that’ll be happening.

From the link:

“The emerging field of atomtronics aims to construct analogies of electronic components, systems and devices using ultracold atoms,” say Ron Pepino and pals at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder Colorado.

Today, they outline their vision for atomtronics, show how it works and explain why it could shape the future of information processing.

The idea is to manipulate neutral atoms using lasers in a way that mimics the behaviour of electrons in wires, transistors and logic gates. Over the last decade or two, physicists at NIST and elsewhere have become masters at creating optical lattices in which atoms can be pushed pulled and prodded at will.

But this kind of optical lion taming has limited appeal so Pepino and co have begun a program to put tame atoms to work.

The problem is that atoms don’t behave like electrons so building the atomtronic equivalent of something even as straightforward as a simple circuit consisting of a battery and resistor in series, requires some thinking out of the box.

Pepino and co say that transferring atoms from one reservoir to another is a decent enough analogy and that this transfer can take place thorugh an optical lattice in which atoms tunnel at a uniform rate. That’s their simple circuit analogy.

May 3, 2010

Has Moore’s Law been defeated?

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:53 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Maybe, unless quantum, optical or another basis for computing gets market-ready pronto.

Life After Moore’s Law
Forbes, Oct. 29, 2010

“We have reached the limit of what is possible with one or more traditional, serial central processing units, or CPUs,” says Bill Dally, chief scientist and senior vice president of research at NVIDIA, citing the failure of power scaling (energy consumed by each unit of computing would decrease as the number of transistors increased).

“It is past time for the computing industry–and everyone who relies on it for continued improvements in productivity, economic growth and social progress–to take the leap into [energy-efficient] parallel processing.”

The problem: “Converting the enormous volume of existing serial programs to run in parallel is a formidable task, and one that is made even more difficult by the scarcity of programmers trained in parallel programming.”
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November 16, 2009

Meet the latest supercomputing champ — Jaguar Cray

Via KurzweilAI.net — Over one petaflop per second!

Cray’s Jaquar now world’s fastest supercomputer
KurzweilAI.net, Nov. 15, 2009

The Jaguar Cray supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has become the world’s most powerful supercomputer, at 1.75 petaflops per second, edging out the IBM Roadrunner system at the U.S. Department of Energy‘s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which has slowed slightly to 1.04 petaflops per second.

The newest version of the TOP500 list, which is issued twice yearly, will be formally presented on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the SC09 Conference, to be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

Source: Top 500 news release

October 19, 2009

More optics in the supercomputing future?

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:11 am

Yes, http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24255/?nlid=2439&a=f.

From the Technology Review editor’s blog link:

This week at the Frontiers in Optics conference in San Jose, Jeffrey Kash of IBM Research laid out his vision of the future of supercomputers.

The fastest supercomputer in the world, the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s IBM Roadrunner, can perform 1,000 trillion operations per second, which computer scientists call the petaflop scale. Getting up to the next level, the exaflop scale, which is three orders of magnitude faster, will require integrating more optical components to save on power consumption, Kash said. (Laser scientists at the conference are also looking towards the exascale, as I reported on Wednesday.)

September 26, 2008

Hewlett-Packard Laboratories plans exascale data centers

From KurzweilAI.net — The latest in supercomputng news is Hewlett-Packard Laboratories working with the Georgia Institute of Technology is planning exascale data centers utilizing farms of petaflop computers.

HP Labs aims at exascale computing
EE Times, Sep. 19, 2008

Hewlett-Packard Laboratories and Georgia Institute of Technologyare planning to develop exascale datacenters with farms of petaflop-caliber computers to achieve 1,000-fold increases over the world’s fastest computers, using virtualized multi-core processors with special-purpose chips, like graphics accelerators.

Enhanced large-scale applications include climate modeling, biological simulations, drug discovery, national defense, energy assurance and advanced materials development.

An exaflop is 1000 petaflops or 1018 flops (floating point operations/seccond). As noted in Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near, estimates of humanbrain equivalence range from 1014(Moravec) to 1016(Kurzweil). – Ed.

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April 7, 2008

Supercomputing news

Two bits from KurzweilAI.net. First is a qutrit breakthrough making strides toward quantum computing.

The second is on a DARPA challenge for research projects offering “dramatic improvements” in areas including quantum computing.

Qutrit breakthrough brings quantum computers closer
Physics arXiv blog, April 4, 2008University of Queensland scientists have built and tested quantum logic gates that are vastly more powerful than those that have gone before by exploiting the higher dimensions available in quantum mechanics.For example, a qubit can be encoded in a photon‘s polarization. But a photon has other dimensions which can also be used to carry information, such as its arrival time, photon number or frequency. By exploiting these, a photon can easily be used as a much more powerful three level system called a qutrit.That allows a dramatic reduction in the number of gates necessary to perform a specific task. Using only three of the higher-dimension logic gates, the team has built and tested a Toffoli logic gate that could only have been constructed using 6 conventional logic gates. And they say that a computer made up of 50 conventional quantum logic gates could be built using only 9 of theirs.

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Uncle Sam searches for a quantum leap
NewScientist news service, April 1, 2008Under its new QuEST (Quantum Entanglement Science and Technology) program, DARPA has issued a request for proposal for research projects that address “”dramatic improvements” in “the nature, establishment, control, or transport of multi-qubit entanglement.”Applications might include parallel computing power in a quantum computer and secure communications using quantum cryptography
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