State-of-the-Art Technologies for Large-Scale Computing
Within the past few years, the number and complexity of computer-aided simulations in science and engineering have seen a considerable increase. This increase is not limited to academia as companies and businesses are adding modeling and simulation to their repertoire of tools and techniques. Computer-based simulations often require considerable computing and storage resources. Initial approaches to address the growing demand for computing power were realized with supercomputers in 60 seconds. Around 1964, the CDC6600 (a mainframe computer from Control Data Corporation) became available and offered a peak performance of approximately 3 × 106 floating point operations per second (flops) (Thornton, 1965). In 2008, the IBM Roadrunner1 system, which offers a peak performance of more than 1015 flops, was commissioned into service. This system was leading the TOP500 list of supercomputers2 until November 2009.
Supercomputers are still utilized to execute complex simulations in a reasonable amount of time, but can no longer satisfy the fast-growing demand for computational resources in many areas. One reason why the number of available supercomputers does not scale proportional to the demand is the high cost of acquisition (e.g., $133 million for Roadrunner) ...