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In this article, major recent trends and changes in the high-performance computing (HPC) market place were analyzed. Within the first half of this decade clusters of PCs and workstations have become the prevalent architecture for many HPC application areas in all ranges of performance. However, the Earth Simulator vector system demonstrated that many scientific applications could benefit greatly from other computer architectures. At the same time, there is renewed broad interest in the scientific HPC community for new hardware architectures and new programming paradigms. The IBM BlueGene/L system is one early example of a shifting design focus for large-scale system. The DARPA HPCS program has the declared goal of building a Petaflops computer system by the end of the decade using novel computer architectures.
Date of Publication: Jan.-Feb. 2006