PerspectiveComputer Science

Rough Times Ahead

Science  31 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5607, pp. 668-669
DOI: 10.1126/science.1081623

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Summary

Clusters of conventional computers have almost replaced vector-based supercomputers among the world's 500 biggest computing complexes, thereby tapping a computing resource with lower costs. But as Kirkpatrick explains in his Perspective, this approach brings new problems. He highlights the report by Korniss et al., who demonstrate that the simulations times of the different processors can diverge very quickly, leading to temporal "roughening." As a result, it can be difficult to synchronize computations performed on many different computers. Intermittent synchronization over random distances can suppress the roughening.