Monday, April 03, 2006

Mine's bigger than yours...

...but maybe not for much longer. Apparently HECToR is being funded to the tune of 50 million quid, so the UK will have a computer to rival the Earth Simulator in a year or so. The initial system will be about 50-100TFlops peak performance, but I think it was going to be upgradeable thereafter. The ES is about 40TFlops sustained, so maybe we'll stay ahead for a little while longer. More importantly, the ES is primarily devoted to Earth System Science, whereas HECToR will be shared across all of the UK's scientific research needs.

Japan and the USA have a big advantage in this race through having computer industries to support - certainly in the case of Japan, the funding of ES and Simulator 2 are in no small part aimed at developing new computing technology, with the science as a bonus (it can't be a coincidence that all the US machines use US hardware too). But in the UK, it all has to be argued for on the basis of allocating limited scientific funding ("do we want HECToR or CEH?") and then gets tendered out to whichever foreign manufacturer offers best value. 50 million quid is not to be sniffed at, but it's being spread rather thin!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

John Fleck says -

We in the U.S. also have a nuclear arsenal to support, which can suck up every flop you can offer it. Come to think of it, so does UK.

llewelly said...

John:
I had the impression the US had about 30-50 times as many operational warheads as the UK. However, when I went to thebulletin.org in search of data that would support or reject this number, I got confused. Oh well...

James Annan said...

John,

I think you mistyped "We in the US also have a nuclear arsenal to support, develop and enhance in clear and blatant breach of the non-proliferation treaty that we expect the rest of the world (at least, our current enemies) to obey".

"British" nukes are just US ones stationed over here. I doubt we even know how to use them.

(insert smileys as required)