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Berkeley (CA) – In supercomputing, the sky is the limit, literally. In an effort to enable more credible global climate change predictions, researchers from UC Berkeley believe that the way to go is a new kind of cloud supercomputer that includes 20 million processors delivering a peak performance of 200 PFlops to simulate 1-km scale climate models. At the same time, this proposed system would not require a power plant all for itself. How that is possible you ask? These guys are looking into ultra-efficient embedded RISC CPUs.
The researchers believe that 20 million Tensilica RISC processors would deliver at least 10 PFlops of sustained performance, while topping out at about 200 PFlops. The power consumption of such a system is estimated at about 4 Mega Watts and the construction and typical operation cost at about $75 million. A 200 PFlops system that is built on today’s common architecture could cost up to $1 billion and consume 200 Mega Watts – which is the equivalent of what a city with 100,000 people consumes.