How to Build an Exascale Out of Tech

In this post, we’ll go over how to build an Exascale out of tech. We’ll go over the basics of what an Exascale is, what it’s used for, and how to build one.

Checkout this video:


The term “exascale” refers to a computing system that can perform 10^18 (one exa-) floating point operations per second. In practical terms, this would be the equivalent of a system that could perform a quadrillion (1,000 trillion) operations per second. Exascale systems are still in the early stages of development, but there is significant interest in building such systems due to the increased power and efficiency that they could bring to various fields of research.

Currently, the fastest supercomputer in the world is the Sunway TaihuLight, which is capable of 93 petaflops (93 quadrillion operations per second). To put this into perspective, an exascale system would be approximately 10,000 times faster than the Sunway TaihuLight.

While there are many challenges involved in building an exascale system, one of the key challenges is developing the necessary hardware and software components. In terms of hardware, exascale systems will require new types of processors and memory modules that are capable of handling very large amounts of data. In terms of software, exascale systems will need new operating systems and programming models that can take advantage of the increased parallelism made possible by these new hardware components.

The first step in developing an exascale system is to identify a use case that would benefit from such increased power and efficiency. Once a use case has been identified, researchers can begin working on developing the necessary hardware and software components. This process is still in its early stages, but there has been significant progress made in recent years.

What is an Exascale?

An Exascale computer is a supercomputer that is capable of a billion-billion (10^18) calculations per second. This next generation of computers will be about 50 times faster than the current fastest machine, which is the Tianhe-2 in China. These computers will be used for large scale simulation and data analysis, such as climate modeling, particle physics, and large scale genomics.

To put this in perspective, an Exaflop computer would be able to perform the following tasks in one second:
-Count every grain of sand on all the beaches on Earth
– Analyze all the medical images ever taken
– Instantly translate every piece of text ever written in any language

The Challenge of Building an Exascale

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the demand for ever-higher speeds of data processing has reached the point where the traditional von Neumann computer architecture is becoming a bottleneck. A new generation of so-called “exascale” computers is therefore being developed that are capable of executing a billion billion (1018) operations per second, and these are expected to come online in the early 2020s.

However, building an exascale computer is no easy task. One of the biggest challenges is that, as speed and scale increase, so does power consumption – something which is becoming an increasingly important factor given the need to limit carbon emissions. As such, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 – to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” – is a key driver for exascale development.

One way in which this challenge is being addressed is through the use of cutting-edge technologies such as photonics (the science of light) and nanoelectronics (the study of extremely small electronic devices). By harnessing these technologies, it may be possible to create exascale computers that consume significantly less power than their predecessors.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the key technologies that are being used in the development of exascale computing, and explore how they could help us achieve SDG 7.

The Components of an Exascale

Building an Exascale isn’t just about slapping together a bunch of fast components. It’s about finding the right mix of technologies that will come together to create a system that can sustain an Exaflop or more of computing power. That’s a daunting task, but it’s one that can be accomplished with the right mix of components. Here are some of the things you’ll need to build an Exascale:

-A processor that can sustained Exaflops of performance. This is usually accomplished with many cores and/or special vector processing units.
-A huge amount of memory, so that data doesn’t have to be constantly fetched from storage. This is typically done with a combination of on-chip and off-chip memory, with multiple tiers of caching.
-A high-speed network for connecting all of the components together. This is often done with multiple network fabrics, such as InfiniBand or Ethernet.
-I/O devices for moving data in and out of the system. This is typically done with SSDs, hard drives, or even tape drives.

Of course, this is just a basic overview of what you’ll need to build an Exascale. For more detailed information, check out our guides on how to build an Exascale processor and how to build an Exascale computer system.

The Interconnect

The interconnect is the set of wires, cables, and other physical devices that connect components within a computer system. In a system as large and complex as an exascale machine, the interconnect must be able to move data very quickly between all of the different parts of the system.

One of the biggest challenges in designing an exascale interconnect is that the system will have to move an incredible amount of data—on the order of billions of billionstimes per second. To put that in perspective, if each byte were a single drop of water, the system would have to move all of the world’s oceans worth of water every second.

There are a few different ways to build an interconnect, but most exascale machines are likely to use some combination of optical fibers and copper wires. Optical fibers are already being used in some high-performance computing systems, and they have the advantage of being able to move data very quickly over long distances. However, they are also very expensive, so most systems will probably use a mix of optical and copper wires.

The specific design of the interconnect will have a big impact on the overall performance of an exascale machine. For example, if the interconnect is not able to keep up with the speed at which data is being generated by all of the cores in the system, then the cores will have to wait for the data to be available before they can continue working. This waiting can slow down the entire machine.

The Storage

As you may know, an exascale computer is a machine capable of reaching one exaFLOPS, or one billion billion calculations per second. But did you know that you can actually build your own exascale computer at home? All you need is some creative thinking and the right technology.

The first step is to understand what an exascale computer is. Simply put, it’s a machine that can perform one billion billion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. That’s a lot of power! But how do you achieve such high speeds?

There are two key components to an exascale computer: the processor and the storage. The processor is responsible for performing the actual calculations, while the storage is used to hold data and instructions for the processor. To achieve high speeds, both the processor and storage must be very fast.

The processor is the heart of the exascale computer and there are many different ways to make it fast. One popular approach is to use multiple cores, or processing units, in parallel. This means that each core can work on a different task at the same time, which can greatly increase speed. Another way to increase speed is to use special vector processing units that can perform multiple operations in parallel. By using multiple cores and vector processing units together, it’s possible to achieve extremely high speeds.

The other key component of an exascale computer is storage. To achieve high speeds, the storage must be able to keep up with the processor. This means using very fast storage devices such as solid-state drives (SSDs) or non-volatile memory (NVM). SSDs and NVMs are much faster than traditional hard drives because they don’t need to spin up before they can start working. This allows them to start working almost immediately after they receive a request from the processor.

By using a combination of multiple cores, vector processing units, and fast storage devices, it’s possible to build an exascale computer at home. With some creative thinking and the right technology, you too can have your very own exascale machine!

The Software

The software of an Exascale computer will be able to handle a billion-billion calculations per second. This is a thousand times faster than today’s fastest supercomputer, and a million times faster than a high-end gaming PC. The operating system will be able to manage all of the resources of the computer, and keep track of what each thread is doing. The applications will be able to use all of the resources of the computer to get their work done quickly.

The Future of Exascale Computing

The future of computing is exascale. This is the next level of processing power, capable of a billion-billion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. It’s a level of processing power that is unprecedented and will enable new levels of scientific discovery, help solve some of the world’s most complex problems and pave the way for new advances in artificial intelligence (AI).

There are two main challenges to building an exascale computer. The first is technological – can we build a machine that is powerful enough and can we do so within the constraints of available energy and space? The second challenge is economic – can we afford to build an exascale computer?

The technological challenge is being addressed by a number of research programs around the world. In the united states the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project is working on developing the technologies needed to build an exascale machine by 2023. In Europe, the Horizon 2020 ExaNeSt project is taking a similar approach. And in China, the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi is home to the country’s first exascale supercomputer, the Sunway TaihuLight.

The economic challenge is more difficult to solve. Exascale computers will require significant investment – on the order of billions of dollars – to develop and build. But the potential rewards are vast. An exascale machine could help us find new cures for disease, unlock the mysteries of Quantum Mechanics or provide insights into climate change that could help us avoid catastrophic consequences. Finding the resources to invest in building an exascalecomputer will be crucial to realizing its potential benefits.

Scroll to Top