I recently attended the 1st annual workshop of the Hybrid Multicore Consortium. The 1st annual of anything shows a certain degree of optimism and the participants at this consortium are very optimistic of the role of hybrid multicore architectures in meeting the large-scale computing needs of the scientific community. We’ve been working with several ‘early innovators’ in this space for a few years, and this is one more indicator that the industry is moving into the next stage of adoption.
Several national labs - Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) - plus Georgia Institute of Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) have established this consortium, sponsored by the Department of Energy, and membership is open to the public. HP is a founding industry member and will be participating in this consortium as part of HP's ongoing efforts to deliver high-performance computing solutions.
Hybrid here means CPU plus accelerator, where the accelerator significantly enhances the computational capabilities of the system. The consortium is developing and maintaining a roadmap of the current state of accelerator technology and gaps that need to be filled to meet the requirements of large-scale production use. A number of different accelerator technologies are relevant and were discussed, and the roadmap is not strongly biased to any technology. The issues and concerns - for example, code portability - span the various technologies.
Members of the consortium are on the leading edge of high-performance computing technology and have a vested interest in pushing this technology forward and directing it to effectively meet the needs of scientists and researchers. If you also see hybrid technology in your future, check out the consortium website: http://computing.ornl.gov/HMC/. Under Events, you can read about the experiences members have had with accelerator technology and, under Roadmap, an evolving analysis of the technology and the directions it needs to take.