Current smartphones are more less tiny computers, both considering features and performance. This is just the start as within 10 years performance of mobile chips will be measured in TeraFLOPS.
The world’s fastest graphics cards can do about 1 TeraFLOPS and to see this kind of performance in small mobile devices in 10 is pretty staggering. According to Dr. Jack Dongarra, expert on HPC, this is precisely what will happen. Dr. Dongarra is one of those that are expected to build new supercomputers closing in on the exaflops performance mark, and has estimated what our computers will be capable of within the near decade.
Beside mobile phones with TeraFLOPS performance, notebooks will be capable of over 10 teraflops and all of the supercomputers on the topp500 list will offer at least 1 PetaFLOPS.
The world’s fastest supercomputer Jaguar can perform 1.7 PetaFLOPS
Not surprisingly supercomputers will be relying more and more on the power of GPUs, but there are problems and GPU performance can’t help them all.
The obvious upside of GPUs is that they provide compelling performance for modest prices. The downside is that they are more difficult to program, since at the very least you will need to write one program for the CPUs and another program for the GPUs. Another problem that GPUs present pertains to the movement of data. Any machine that requires a lot of data movement will never come close to achieving its peak performance. The CPU-GPU link is a thin pipe, and that becomes the strangle-point for the effective use of GPUs. In the future this problem will be addressed by having the CPU and GPU integrated in a single socket.
Also the ExaFLOPS mark will be reached before 2020 if we are to believe Dr. Dongarra’s predictions. The hottest player on the supercomputer market is China, who has started to show what it can do.