1st Edition

Unmatched 50 Years of Supercomputing

By David Barkai Copyright 2024
    360 Pages 16 Color & 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Chapman & Hall

    360 Pages 16 Color & 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Chapman & Hall

    360 Pages 16 Color & 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Chapman & Hall

    Unmatched: 50 Years of Supercomputing: A Personal Journey Accompanying the Evolution of a Powerful Tool

    The rapid and extraordinary progress of supercomputing over the past half-century is a powerful demonstration of our relentless drive to understand and shape the world around us. In this book, David Barkai offers a unique and compelling account of this remarkable technological journey, drawing from his own rich experiences working at the forefront of high-performance computing (HPC).

    This book is a journey delineated as five decade-long ‘epochs’ defined by the systems’ architectural themes: vector processors, multi-processors, microprocessors, clusters, and accelerators and cloud computing. The final part examines key issues of HPC and discusses where it might be headed.

    A central goal of this book is to show how computing power has been applied, and, more importantly, how it has impacted and benefitted society. To this end, the use of HPC is illustrated in a range of industries and applications, from weather and climate modeling to engineering and life sciences. As such, this book appeals to both students and general readers with an interest in HPC, as well as industry professionals looking to revolutionize their practice.

    From the Foreword:


    David Barkai's career has spanned five decades, during which he has had the rare opportunity to be part of some of the most significant developments in the field of supercomputing. His personal and professional insights, combined with his deep knowledge and passion for the subject matter, make this book an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the evolution of HPC and its impact on our lives.”


    -Horst Simon, Director, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) Lab



    Short Introduction to Scientific Computing

    Part I The Epoch of Big Iron

    Chapter 1: In the Old Days…

    Chapter 2: Vector Processes

    Chapter 3: Vectorizing Applications

    Chapter 4: Numerical Weather Prediction

    Chapter 5: Vector Processors for Weather

    Part II The Epoch of Multiprocessors

    Chapter 6: Macro Parallelism

    Chapter 7: Making Use of Multi-Processors

    Chapter 8: Attached Processors, Microprocessors, and Mini-Supers

    Chapter 9: Studying the Standard Model

    Chapter 10: HPC for the Automotive Design – Early Days

    Chapter 11: End of an Era

    Part III The Epoch of Microprocessors

    Chapter 12: Towards Massive Parallelism

    Chapter 13: Engineering with HPC

    Chapter 14: HPC for the Aero Industry

    Chapter 15: The WRF Story

    Chapter 16: Planning Ahead

    Part IV The Epoch of Clusters

    Chapter 17: Standardization

    Chapter 18: HPC at Intel

    Chapter 19: High Productivity in HPC

    Chapter 20: Weather Models’ Impact on Our Lives

    Chapter 21: Computational Life Sciences

    Chapter 22: Genomics and Beyond

    Part V The Epoch of Accelerators and Cloud

    Chapter 23: Codesign

    Chapter 24 The Changing Face of HPC

    Chapter 25: HPC in the Cloud

    Chapter 26: The NCAR Models

    Chapter 27: Modelling the Earth System

    Chapter 28: HPC, Cloud and AI for Engineering

    Chapter 29: Two Scientific Anecdotes: LIGO, Fusion

    Chapter 30: The COVID-19 Campaign

    Part VI Wrap Up and Outlook

    Chapter 31: P is for Performance

    Chapter 32: Fortran: The Coarrays Story

    Chapter 33: Fortran Today

    Chapter 34: Thoughts from the Guardians of Fortran

    Chapter 35: Measure of HPC Impact

    Chapter 36: Looking Forward




    David Barkai started his HPC career shortly after receiving a PhD in theoretical physics in the early ‘70s and was active in the field for over 40 years. A central theme of his work was the relationships between applications and architecture, with numerous publications over the years. David’s employment at several HPC companies during their heydays – Control Data, Floating Point Systems, Cray Research, Supercomputing Systems Inc., Intel, and SGI – as well as a stint at NASA, offered him a front-row view of the evolving HPC scene over the last few decades.