Heterogeneous Processing: a Strategy for Augmenting Moore's Law

One way to break the high performance computing barrier imposed by the limitations of Moore's Law
Looking Ahead

Although many exciting avenues of exploration are underway today in the field of heterogeneous computing, we are not yet at the point where this model will take over as the dominant HPC system architecture. The barriers that remain (primarily, difficulties programming for and porting existing code to heterogeneous systems) are significant. However, Cray and others in the HPC community are already making strides in these areas.

As with any new technology, widespread adoption of heterogeneous systems will depend on an analysis of the gains that can be achieved versus the effort required to realize them. In the long term, we believe that the performance advantages offered by heterogeneous architectures for some applications will be too compelling to ignore.

Amar Shan is a senior product manager at global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. Shan joined Cray in 2004 when Cray acquired OctigaBay Systems Corporation and is responsible for setting product direction for Cray next-generation products and the Cray XD1 high-performance computing (HPC) system—the only Linux/Opteron system designed specifically for HPC applications. Shan holds a Master of Applied Science in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Waterloo and Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of British Columbia.