Chapter 1

A Short History of Supercomputing

Introduction

So why in a book about CUDA are we looking at supercomputers? Supercomputers are typically at the leading edge of the technology curve. What we see here is what will be commonplace on the desktop in 5 to 10 years. In 2010, the annual International Supercomputer Conference in Hamburg, Germany, announced that a NVIDIA GPU-based machine had been listed as the second most powerful computer in the world, according to the top 500 list (http://www.top500.org). Theoretically, it had more peak performance than the mighty IBM Roadrunner, or the then-leader, the Cray Jaguar, peaking at near to 3 petaflops of performance. In 2011, NVIDIA CUDA-powered GPUs went on to claim the title of the fastest ...

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