10 years of Irish supercomputing: What has changed? – SiliconRepublic

Here is an article reflecting on 10 years of ICHEC (The Irish Centre for High-End Computing) from our friends at SiliconRepublic.com: 10 years of Irish supercomputing: What has changed?. Certainly a lot has changed, but the article hits on something that some believe hasn’t changed much: public awareness and perception. In the article, J.C. Desplat, ICEHC director, states:

The public needs to understand and value the initiatives …

He added that ambivalence is not good enough. The public needs to know what massive computer power can do.

Commenting on a similar trajectory, Roberto Viola, director general of DG Connect at the European Commission, noted:

“The private sector, academia and [the EU] need to work together across multiple topics.”

Although the past ten years have seen significant strides in this arena, certainly more needs to be done. This needs to be done in concert with raising public awareness and support, in order to truly realise Ireland’s profile in High Performance Computing. Expect more on this in the new year.

Finally, as we were writing this post we were reflecting on the first three years of the Irish Supercomputer List and had the data lying right here, and we thought the following was interesting:

In the last ten years (Jan 1 2007 – Jan 1 2017) Ireland has had 12 machines that have held a total of 20 spots on the Top500 List, which ranks supercomputers globally. These include 4 ICHEC and 8 industry installations. Prior to 2007, Ireland had only 4 installations holding 7 spots on the Top 500, going back to Ireland’s first Top500 machine In November 1994. Holding spot 411 on that list 22 years ago was a University College Dublin machine – a 2,048 core Maspar MP-2216 with a performance of 1.6 GFlop/s. To put that in perspective, my Intel I7 dual core laptop with 16GB of RAM just scored just under 35 GFlop/s. Safe to say that in 1994 the Maspar was a bit more costly than my laptop.

We’ll write more on this UCD machine in the new year.

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