Seminars & Colloquia

Wu-Chun Feng

Los Alamos National Laboratory

"The Evolution of Power-Aware, High-Performance Clusters: From the Datacenter to the Desktop"

Wednesday April 27, 2005 11:00 AM
Location: 246, EGRC NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)

This talk is part of the System Research Seminar series


Abstract: From the early 1990s to the early 2000s, the performance of our n-body code for galaxy formation has improved by 2000-fold, but the performance per watt has only improved 300-fold and the performance per square foot only 65-fold. Clearly, we are building less and less efficient supercomputers, thus resulting in the construction of massive datacenters, and even, entirely new buildings (and hence, leading to an extraordinarily high total cost of ownership). Perhaps a more insidious problem to the above inefficiency is that the reliability (and usability) of these systems continues to decrease as traditional supercomputers continue to follow "Moore's Law for Power Consumption."

Green Destiny, designed and built in early 2002 to address the above issues, is a 240-processor cluster that fits in a telephone booth and sips only 3.2 kilowatts of power, i.e., two hairdryers. It provides reliable supercomputing cycles while sitting in an 85-degree F dusty warehouse at 7,400 feet above sea level, thus illustrating its ability to be moved out of the datacenter and into an office, for example. This transformation from datacenter cluster to office cluster ultimately led to a subsequent transformation into a desktop cluster and deskside cluster, as embodied by the Orion Multisystems DT-12 and DS-96, respectively, as well as the creation of a highly-used high- performance bioinformatics code called mpiBLAST.

(Note: The above talk was a recent keynote speech at an IEEE International Parallel & Distributed Processing Symposium Workshop earlier this month.)

Short Bio: Dr. Wu-chun Feng, or more simply Wu, is a technical staff member and team leader of Research & Development in Advanced Network Technology (RADIANT) in the Computer & Computational Sciences Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is also chief scientist at Orion Multisystems, a start-up company that delivers supercomputing to the masses, i.e., personal desktop (and deskside) supercomputers. Previous professional stints include The Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Vosaic LLC, NASA Ames Research Center, and IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.

Dr. Feng received a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Music (Honors) and an M.S. in Computer Engineering from Penn State University in 1988 and 1990, respectively. He earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Host: Xiaosong Ma, Department of Computer Science, NC State University

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