CRPC Facilities Director and Executive Committee member Paul Messina recently received a joint grant from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and DARPA to investigate a "Hybrid Technology Multi-Threaded Architecture" to support PetaOps computing, or computing that involves a thousand trillion operations per second.
Over the next year, Messina and Caltech colleague Thomas Sterling will lead an interdisciplinary team of collaborators in determining the feasibility and detailed structure of a parallel architecture integrating the combined capabilities of semiconductor, superconductor, and optical technologies. This hybrid architecture approach is motivated by the realization that a mix of technologies may yield superior operational attributes to those possible based solely on semiconductor technology in the same time frame.
Specifically, Messina and Sterling anticipate that "computational performance can be dramatically improved through recent advances in Superconducting Rapid Single Flux Quantum logic, which will make 100 GHz clock rates feasible in the next two years." They also hope to see increased memory capacity, perhaps through optical 3-D holographic storage capable of storing 0.1 Petabits or more, as well as enhanced interconnection bandwidth, resulting from optical networks with 100 Gbps channels.
In October, Messina and Sterling presented on this effort at the Frontiers '96 conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
Updated by Debbie Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Posted November 12, 1996.