KNOXVILLE—The Department of Energy recently released a report co-chaired by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Distinguished Professor Jack Dongarra in which he stresses the importance of prioritizing research into high-end mathematics to help keep the United States on the cutting edge of computing.
"Exascale computing (capable of one quintillion floating point operations per second) will enable us to solve problems in ways that are not feasible today and will result in significant scientific breakthroughs," said Dongarra, of UT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "However, the transition to exascale poses numerous scientific and technological challenges."
Dongarra, one of five National Academy of Engineering members on the faculty of UT's College of Engineering, said that increased funding for the development of new models and ways of gathering data is key to unlocking a number of those challenges.
Making a commitment to the goal of keeping the United States a leader in the field should be the first task, according to Dongarra, a leading figure in tracking and ranking the world's fastest computers and head of the Innovating Computing Laboratory at UT.
The report—Applied Mathematics Research for Exascale Computing—lays out some groundwork for emphasizing higher-level mathematics and increasing the pool of researchers involved.
"Advances in applied mathematics will be essential in order to produce high-performance applications," said Dongarra. "But to take advantage of that, it will be critical to increase the number of researchers trained in both applied mathematics and high-performance computing."
As important as those areas are to the success of the project, Dongarra pointed out that the ability of researchers from various backgrounds to work together will also be vital.
"Computer scientists, applied mathematicians and application scientists will all need to work closely together," said Dongarra. "It will prove vital to produce an environment where we can exploit the computational resources that will be available at the exascale level."
The report can be viewed at http://tiny.cc/doe-math-exascale.
For more information on the College of Engineering, visit http://engr.utk.edu.
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