A glimpse into supercomputing’s past and future: TheCUBE previews SC22

The field of high-performance computing has grown with the rest of the technology world, progressing from its use as a niche tool for weather prediction and nuclear weapons modeling to providing support for an increasing number of enterprise use cases.

What this means for the future of HPC will be the focus during the upcoming International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, known as SC22, and theCUBE’s livestreaming studio will be onsite in Dallas from Nov. 15-17 with live interviews with leading analysts, C-suite executives and use-case participants.

“Today that requirement for cutting-edge, leading-edge, highest performing supercomputing technology is bleeding into the enterprise, driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said David Nicholson (pictured), industry analyst for theCUBE. “With things like RDMA over converged ethernet you now have the ability for supercomputing capabilities directly accessible by enterprise computing. At the SC22 event, we’re going to be looking under the covers and seeing what kind of architectural things contribute to these capabilities moving forward.”

Nicholson was joined for an advance look at SC22 by theCUBE industry analyst Dave Vellante, and they discussed key supercomputing trends and what to expect from November’s event.

Rising supercomputing cost

Technology advances in the HPC field have been accompanied by one factor that could limit future growth. Supercomputers cost a great deal to develop, leading to a scenario in which major global powers with sizable treasuries are becoming major players in the field.

“The highest performing supercomputers used to cost tens of millions of dollars, maybe $30 million, and we’ve seen that steadily rise to over $200 million,” Vellante said. “We’re even seeing systems that cost more than half a billion dollars. The US, China, Japan, EU counties and the UK are all investing heavily to keep their countries competitive, and no price seems to be too high.”

Despite rising costs, the gathering in November will provide an opportunity for members of the HPC community to assess how far the field has progressed in less than 30 years. One key factor can be seen in the evolution of storage capacity. What was once a significant challenge has become a commonplace part of everyday life.

“I just upgraded to the iPhone 14 which has one terabyte of storage,” Nicholson said. “In 1997, I helped build a one terabyte NAS system that a government defense contractor purchased for over $2 million. We had a team of seven people who were going to manage that one terabyte of storage.”

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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