The increase of performance and capabilities of modern microprocessors and various electronics on their base is remarkable to say at least. What a supercomputer could provide just about fifteen years ago now fits into a slim notebook and in ten years time even a mobile phone will have performance comparable to today’s desktops, according to a well-known high-performance computing specialist. Moreover, all the supercomputers in the Top 500 list will have petaFLOPS performance.
“By 2020, every system in the top500 list of supercomputers will offer petaFLOPS performance or better. Cellphones will have teraFLOPS performance, and laptops will have 10 teraFLOPS performance. Having solved the myriad problems inherent in creating an exaFLOPS machine, researchers will focus their efforts on designing and creating a zettaFLOPS supercomputer,” said Jack Dongarra, the director of the innovative computing laboratory at the innovative computing laboratory and the director of the center for information technology research at the University of Tennessee, in an interview with Next Big Future web-site.
Even though many researchers and even executives of semiconductor companies claim that the
“end” of Moore’s law is near, the professor at the University of Tennessee believes that the amount of transistors per advanced chip will continue to double every eighteen or so months, which will drive performance upwards.
“Most hardware researchers predict that silicon CMOS can continue scaling for the next ten years. Moore's law – performance doubling every two years – should continue for the next decade. So the hardware path, unlike the software path, is clear,” said Mr. Dongarra.
Researchers as well as hardware designers are known for making bold, yet rather logical predictions. For example, a specialist from Imagination Technologies recently promised that handheld game consoles will have the “power” of PlayStation 3 in the coming years. The statement sounds rather interesting considering the fact that handhelds by definition do not support high screen resolutions or truly high-end games. Nonetheless, just ten years ago gigahertz processors were a milestone for desktop computers, whereas today they can be found even in advanced mobile phones. Somehow, developers of software for mobile products easily find ways to utilize increased performance and so even a teraFLOPS performance in a pocket may still be required.