Post petaflop

We’ve all been very excited about the great turnout of FAH donors over the last few days, allowing FAH to go over a petaflop.  The PS3’s have been cranking out some very useful scientific results due to the new scientific software present in v1.2.  The PS3’s are so fast, we’ve been looking at the results sometimes 2x to 3x a day (instead of a couple times a month).  If all goes well, we’re hoping to write up these results soon (maybe a few weeks) for peer reviewed publication.

It’s also interesting to think about what we want to do post-petaflop.  One idea we have is to make the calculation even more accurate.  With the methods we have in mind, this normally would slow us down quite a bit (say 10x slowdown), but on the PS3, it’s likely that we may get a lot of that for free, as the memory access is the challenging part and in many ways with that now addressed, we may get more flops for free. 

This really changes how we think of the economy of doing these calculations and is pushing us to more and more accurate models.  One upshot for FAH is that this would drive the PS3’s GFLOP rate (now typically 35 GFLOPS on a new GB WU) even higher, closer to the peak.  Since the peak is something like 200 for the Cell, we still have a lot of room to possibly grow (although it’s unclear how close one can get to the theoretical peak — my guess is that 70 to 90 per PS3 may be the max for us).  Nevertheless, even 70-90 would mean FAH would start getting close to 2 Petaflops!