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Europe Plans Exascale Funding Above U.S. Levels

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Supercomputing 70

dcblogs writes "The European Commission last week said it is doubling its multi-year investment in the push for exascale computing from €630 million to €1.2 billion (or the equivalent of $1.58 billion). They are making this a priority even as austerity measures are imposed to prevent defaults. China, meanwhile, has a five-year plan to deliver exascale computing between 2016-20 (PDF). The Europeans announced the plan the same week the White House released its fiscal year 2013 budget, which envisions a third year of anemic funding to develop exascale technologies. Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy science budget asked for nearly $91 million in funding for the efforts in the current fiscal year; it received $73.4 million. DOE science is trying for about $90 million for exascale for 2013. There's more funding tucked in military and security budgets. The U.S. wants exascale around 2018, but it has yet to deliver a plan or the money for it."

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Other priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121511)

Have to buy off his "people". He can't afford to create jobs or anything like that.

US probably already has it! (3, Interesting)

luminousone11 (2472748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121525)

Who knows any kind of toys they have barred in the NSA, and DoD. And given the amount of money that flies through defense contracts wouldn't be hard to hide that in a small line item somewhere(likely next to that Wayne Tech justice league space station *wink*).

Re:US probably already has it! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121593)

And if they don't the NSA can just steal it!

Yay Europe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121539)

go Europe, beat those ugly Americans

Help Me Understand? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121543)

Why is everyone pushing for exascale computing? What is such a super computer used for? Couldn't a massive distributed system work just as well?

Re:Help Me Understand? (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121695)

If it could, do you think they'd be wanting to develop exascale computers in the first place? The only tasks that work on distributed systems (distributed meaning random people installing your app on their computer, not distributed memory machines) are pretty much trivially parallel in the first place (since your node-node bandwidth is practically nil, and latency is massive).

Re:Help Me Understand? (5, Informative)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121713)

One big reason why an exa-scale installation is generally better than an exa-scale distributed project is that of Data Transfer.

Distributed computing is plagued by Data Transfer bottlenecks. If it's an internet project, the cumulative effect of combined bandwidth does add up. But serving out project segments at exa-scale levels is very expensive, and equally expensive receiving the solution chunks. There's also the problem of "internet climatology" (I'm not sure what it's really called) where the connections aren't uniform. While the internet does "self-heal" it takes time, and that adds up as well.

Basically, when you scale up the computing power on a distributed project, the problems scale too. Out of order processing of problem chunks also causes problems when peers join and drop out in unpredictable ways. Often the same chunk has to spend many times more cycles than actually required, due to peers getting bored with the work, or just testing out the system and dropping the piece they're working on.

An exa-scale supercomputer would remove the problem of collaboration overhead, or at least significantly reduce it. Scheduling is much more efficient, and in the end FLOPS doesn't measure performance in any reliable qualitative way. A distributed project can run at an exaFLOPS rate and still do no productive work, if the participants never finish any of the work they are tasked with.

Re:Help Me Understand? (2)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122033)

seems to work well for seti@home.

surely the expense of exascale couldn't be justified merely because of a data transfer limitation for clustering and boinc.

boinc is enjoying organic growth in performance, including in data transfer rates, with upgrading of consumer hardware and telco infrastructure, and scientific organisations can access this power at a fraction of the cost of establishing a supercomputing facility.

the other bottleneck is I/O, and this will not change with exascale. sensors can only generate data so fast. the massive amounts of data that might require exa-scale are likely generated from multiple sensors, which lends itself to parallel processing anyway, and packaging data for boinc processing is a much simpler problem for one computer than trying to perform the entire process. there is also no reason why boinc hosts couldn't perform some of the data management work as well as crunching results. while not boinc, google is a good example of distributed data management

i can only imagine that whatever monstrosities come out of these efforts will sit idle for much of their time waiting for data to process like just every other computer on the planet.

the whole think stinks of political dickwaving, but I guess that shouldn't be unexpected

Re:Help Me Understand? (3, Informative)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122683)

Most of the applications on big supercomputers are simulations. In the basic case, each node sits there simulating it's cube of atmosphere, or its bit of the airflow around an aircraft or car design or its bit of a nuclear weapon in a simulated warehouse fire. Every time-step it needs to exchange the state of the borders of it's region with its neighbour nodes. In some other applications, all the nodes are working together to invert a huge matrix or do a massive Fourier transform in several dimensions. These need even more communication.

The demand is genuine, and can't be met by wide-area distributed computing using any algorithms we know.

Re:Help Me Understand? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39145515)

I can imagine things like Navier-Stokes/CFD is supercomputer territory. maybe also rather than making the idle process just a message processing loop, they could have it working on boinc processing as well, since the cost of idling any exascale computer would be much higher than a consumer PC.

Re:Help Me Understand? (3, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122903)

Why is everyone pushing for exascale computing?

Well, we all want more computing power.

What is such a super computer used for?

Soliving very large systems of linear equations (for one). Many (but by no means all) scientific problems come down on the inside to solving linear systems over and over again. Basically, anything that can be described by partial differential equations.

Sometimes people want to find eigen decompositions of them too.

But there's also things like molecular dynamics, etc, etc.

Couldn't a massive distributed system work just as well?

Yes: that's exactly what supercomputers are these days. They're usually a collection of decent to very good CPUs (BlueGene series aside) in a bunch of 4p rack mount boxes with a top-end network.

The key generally in the network, which allows micorsecond latency communication between neighbouring nodes.

The nature of exactly what networking works well is very dependent on the problem.

Re:Help Me Understand? (0)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122999)

Why is everyone pushing for exascale computing? What is such a super computer used for? Couldn't a massive distributed system work just as well?

No, not for what they really intend such a system for.

How exactly do you think that the governments are going to perform threat/intelligence analysis of all that data, video, and audio they're collecting both on the internet and from all the CCTV cams, cellphones, and those 30,000 new government drones that will be patrolling the US domestic skies, especially with all the recent data-retention and snooping laws nearly all the Western governments have been, or trying to, implement? Especially for analysis done on anything approaching real-time.

The Digital Police State requires serious computing power, Citizen! Now, go change that shirt! We know you've worn that one for 2 days, and you just bought a new blue shirt at Walmart last week on your way back from seeing that hooker. Also, we've noted you've not gotten enough fiber lately. Please have at least 3 bowls of that new fiber cereal this week. It's in the top right-hand cabinet above the sink.

And stop cursing at your dog when he gets hair on your work pants in the morning. A child may walk past your window. Note - Please wash your windows. The camera on the pole down the block is detecting smudges. You may be subject to fines or secret imprisonment for interfering with or avoiding police observation under the recent and secretly-passed anti-terrorism Nothing To Hide Because I'm Not A Dirty File-Trading Pedo-Terrorist Act.

Remember! We watch you because we love & trust you, and we have your best interests at heart!

Honest!

Strat

Re:Help Me Understand? (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39123217)

You just present a point of view in the most light and easy to read way. Ever tried comedy? (no joke here)

It is true that such supercomputers could be used to analyze huge amounts of data regarding activities of the civilians. And this is both amazing and scary. Amazing because we've got far enough that we have the data AND the power to process it in a timely manner; scary because of what could be done with the results of such analysis. I understand the pros and cons of the government (or any company or individual, for that matter) having such information at their fingertips, and since I believe myself not be exactly paranoid, I'd rather hope such supercomputers will be used for something useful (read scientific, technological or social advance) and not for control. This is, of course, certainly ignoring the fact that some governments do like to spy on it's people to prevent terrorism, and we still have the "think of the children!" argument

Re:Help Me Understand? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128417)

You just present a point of view in the most light and easy to read way. Ever tried comedy? (no joke here)

Seriously, thanks! Comes from decades of playing in club/bar bands and having to keep crowds entertained in between sets/songs/broken-string-replacements/equipment failures/band changes/etc. The ability to make people laugh is a matter of survival when playing a gig in a bar-full of drunk & rowdy patched-up outlaw bikers, where the smallest biker still resembles Mongo's bigger and angrier brother packing a semi-auto pistol.

Apparently, however, someone with mod points doesn't appreciate my sense of humor (my OP was modded "Troll").

At any rate, exascale computing systems are what's required to analyze even the amount of data they already collect, never mind what they're pushing to collect in the near future, which will grow the analysis problem by orders of magnitude.

Strat

Re:Help Me Understand? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39124793)

Distributed works great when you have a large number of chunks which must be independantly processed. Samples of telescope data in SETI@home, potential proteins to test against a receptor, that sort of thing. If all those chunks are interdependant, then distributed computing on the internet isn't going to work. You need a super.

Or not much... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121633)

€1.2 billion (or the equivalent of $1.58 billion)

Or, in a few years, about as much as 3 goats and 5 ducks - or almost anything of value.

More waste (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121647)

Such government "grand" plans are good to distract the crowds, entertain the peons, and prop politicians and their friend's pet projects and corporations up. But the fact that such project requires forcing people to "invest" in them is proof that these resources are misaligned to the current needs and preferences of the people.

I'm sure that we'll get to exascale at some point, but trying to push it too early (before investors find ways to fund it voluntarily) means wasted opportunities. Unfortunately, as Bastiat pointed out, such project yields easily seen results whereas the opportunity cost tends to be ignore, as it is difficult to know. Don't forget this unseen cost.

Re:More waste (5, Insightful)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122039)

Some examples of wasteful, government-enforced research: man in space, GPS, the Internet.

Definition of Exascale Computing (5, Informative)

toygeek (473120) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121651)

I didn't know what it was, I don't follow supercomputing very closely. I looked it up. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exascale_computing [wikipedia.org]

"Exascale computing refers to computing capabilities beyond the currently existing petascale. If achieved, it would represent a thousandfold increase over that scale."

To define Petascale:

"In computing, petascale refers to a computer system capable of reaching performance in excess of one petaflops, i.e. one quadrillion floating point operations per second." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petascale [wikipedia.org]

A Petascale computer, the Cray XT5 Jaguar can do 1.75 petaflops. To reach an exaflop, it would require almost 6000 installations of this supercomputer.

So yeah, Exaflop is pretty big. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(computing) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Definition of Exascale Computing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121783)

A Petascale computer, the Cray XT5 Jaguar can do 1.75 petaflops. To reach an exaflop, it would require almost 6000 installations of this supercomputer.

6000 times 1.75 petaflops would be 10.5 exaflops, surely. I think you mean 600 installations.

Re:Definition of Exascale Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121845)

I think you mean you think he means 571.42857 installations.

Re:Definition of Exascale Computing (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122069)

but what can any single machine that can achieve it actually be used for?

i figure it will be like driving a Ferrari in a traffic jam

Re:Definition of Exascale Computing (3, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122179)

but what can any single machine that can achieve it actually be used for?

i figure it will be like driving a Ferrari in a traffic jam

I believe the meme you are looking for is "play Crysis at full resolution".

Re:Definition of Exascale Computing (2)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122705)

Simulating the airflow over a new car, plane or rocket design.
Weather forecasting
Simulating biochemical networks
etc.

See http://www.nccs.gov/wp-content/media/nccs_reports/Science%20Case%20_012808%20v3__final.pdf [nccs.gov]

Re:Definition of Exascale Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39123537)

Or maybe beating a TRS-80 [codinghorror.com] for large n. Don't forget the importance of efficient algorithms.

Re:Definition of Exascale Computing (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39145457)

or maybe they can calculate pi to a few more decimal places. i guess there's no reason why it couldn't join in on some boinc action

Not really necessary in the US (2)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121661)

The US is awash in privately funded technology R&D toward exascale computing. While there is government funding, it is somewhat superfluous to the extent that US has a huge, well-funded private sector obsessed with massively scaling just about everything vaguely related to computing. That whole Internet-scale computing thing.

The US is hardly disadvantaged by the government not spending money on exascale computing. The US government does not need to compensate for the absence of private investment.

Re:Not really necessary in the US (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122127)

The US is hardly disadvantaged by the government not spending money on exascale computing. The US government does not need to compensate for the absence of private investment.

It's not so much the absence of private investment, as it is the absence of a cohesive direction for all that private investment.
Through either funding or regulation, the government can focus private investment in constructive ways in order to achieve national priorities.

Of course, the free marketeers don't like such ideas, but if they get their way, we'll be buying our solutions from China.
Just like we now have to buy all our rare earth minerals from China.

Re:Not really necessary in the US (1)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122759)

The US is awash in privately funded technology R&D toward exascale computing. While there is government funding, it is somewhat superfluous to the extent that US has a huge, well-funded private sector obsessed with massively scaling just about everything vaguely related to computing. That whole Internet-scale computing thing.

This. Huge.

A billion dollars can be a single contract for a large scale server farm/cluster in the US. Rare, yes, but, imagine, that can be a single contract between only two companies. If you think one of the companies isn't trying to make their product faster/better than the other guy, you're nuts.

Intel in 2010 spent over 6 billion dollars [tellingtechtales.com] in R&D alone. You think none of that was to become faster?

I named the biggest (probably), but, that's just one of a LOT of companies. The nations spending on this are doing one of two things. Paying for planning and consolidation, or blowing a lot of smoke. I'm leaning towards the cynical "vote getting". To be fair, the EU is spending a lot, but a lot more of that goes to hookers and blow than the actual engineers working for companies like Intel have time for.

Re:Not really necessary in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39126331)

I named the biggest (probably), but, that's just one of a LOT of companies. The nations spending on this are doing one of two things. Paying for planning and consolidation, or blowing a lot of smoke. I'm leaning towards the cynical "vote getting". To be fair, the EU is spending a lot, but a lot more of that goes to hookers and blow [for the politicians, rather] than [for] the actual engineers working for companies like Intel have time for.

FTFY

The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (-1, Flamebait)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121683)

for example:
NASA went to space, so Europe made the ESA .. a weak form of NASA
The US starting building the supercollider (which Reagan cancelled) so they built the LHC -- a weaker supercollider ... they only win cause supercollider funding got cut
The US has Boeing so Europee made Airbus -- most of their planes are uninspired boeing clones
The US built the National Ignition Facility to study nuclear fusion, so Europe is building Laser Megajoule .. Now as it turns out NIF is having trouble achieving ignition, due to the type of lasers used .. however Europe already started building Laser Megajoule .. and is still building it similar to the NIF .. at least they should have tried to innovate and use a different type of laser such as DPSSL or Krypton Flouride .. that way there is no duplication of effort and they could have made a genuine contribution.

The only project Europe can be commended on is ITER .. which will take another 8 years to build and whose funding is constantly on the brink of cutoff.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (4, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121765)

Try not to forget that most of Europe was rubble in 1945. A good portion of the second half of the 20th century was spent building houses and infrastructure that had been obliterated by American, German, and Soviet bombs. It's only natural that they had to play catch-up in many aspects of technology. That has come to an end now, with Europe at or exceeding American levels in most areas of research & technology.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39127585)

At least you are more intelligent than the GP, if almost as poorly informed.

The simple fact is that during the cold war, Western Europeans (as members of nation-states, not individuals) had different priorities to those of the US of A and the US of SR. Rebuilding was but a tiny part of that; to France and (Western) Germany "no more war" was far more important than manned missions to the moon, for example. And of course Lend-Lease meant that some of the bigger European economies had debts to the US, but more importantly the US economy had a single central point at which it could pay for mega-projects.

But as to the GP's idiocy, he's probably not heard of the term 'brain drain'. Anyway, culturally speaking most of North America is (for better or for worse) European.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (3, Insightful)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122151)

most of their planes are uninspired boeing clones

Boeing was actually a partner in the A380 project at one point, but it bailed and started the Dreamliner. I bet they're still sulking about that decision.

The only project Europe can be commended on is ITER

...apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, fresh water system, and public health (and that's just the Romans)

the only other thing they contributed to was maybe was European settlement of the west (what is now the United States), but that doesn't really matter I guess; I’m sure the native Indian population would have eventually established NASA, NIF, etc anyway

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122191)

I’m sure the native Indian population would have eventually established NASA, NIF, etc anyway

If people descended from those who crossed the Bering Strait to settle North America are 'natives', then certainly so are people descended from those who crossed the Atlantic.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122209)

that wasn't the point of my comment, but in any case "native Indians" (or "native Americans") are what they are known as, probably because they were the displaced population at the time of European settlement. On the other hand, I would be interested to know what makes you think American Indians originated from across the Bering Strait. Any sources? (not saying you're wrong, just curious... Googling now)

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122661)

I know it wasn't your point, it was just a good place from which to troll. And you pretty much answered your question with the wikipedia link below. I haven't looked much into it. I just remember the basics of the theory. They must have come from somewhere though, unless homo sapiens developed in N. America independent from development in Africa.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122239)

US made CHevy Nova, Europe made Ferraris ;-D ....

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (4, Informative)

timbo234 (833667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122369)

Let's go through your examples:
"NASA went to space, so Europe made the ESA .. a weak form of NASA"
Ok, the ESA has got nothing on NASA (no surprise since its total funding it sadly only about 1/5th what NASA gets). But the only reason NASA was able to get to the moon so quickly back in the day was that it 'stole' German rocket technology and scientists after the war. Everything NASA's done since then has been based on developments on the rocket technology it got from Germany after the war.

"The US starting building the supercollider (which Reagan cancelled) so they built the LHC -- a weaker supercollider ... they only win cause supercollider funding got cut"
Nonsense, the LHC is a machine that is literally *the edge* of what current science and technology can do, which is why it's taken so long to get it working. You can't compare that to a collider that was cancelled 20 years ago due to being unrealisticly expensive to build.

"The US has Boeing so Europee made Airbus -- most of their planes are uninspired boeing clones"
Airbus pioneered the use technologies like fly-by-wire and composite fuselages long before Boeing dared. They've also introduced new aircraft that change the economics on certain routes such as the A380. Not to mention that the first commercial jetliner in production was the deHavilland Comet from the UK, although it proved unsafe and was eventually overtaken by the American 707.

"The US built the National Ignition Facility to study nuclear fusion, so Europe is building Laser Megajoule"
The NIF and ITER are two different approaches to achieving viable nuclear fusion, Europe has commited the majority of its funding to the ITER approach but it'd be stupid not to have some smaller scale experiments which use the approach that NIF uses. Just as I'm sure the US has some experiments that try the ITER torus approach.

Oh and BTW the National Ignition Facility was 5 years behind schedule and almost 4 times more expensive than originally budgeted when completed.

There are areas of scient and technology where the US is ahead and some where Europe is, but it's always annoying in those discussions to have some jingoistic American spread around the myth that all technological development comes from the US and Europe (and everyone else) are just copiers. It's a myth not supported by history, including not by recent history.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (1)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39123167)

The US built the National Ignition Facility to study nuclear fusion, so Europe is building Laser Megajoule

The NIF and ITER are two different approaches to achieving viable nuclear fusion, Europe has commited the majority of its funding to the ITER approach but it'd be stupid not to have some smaller scale experiments which use the approach that NIF uses. Just as I'm sure the US has some experiments that try the ITER torus approach.

Mégajoule (MJ) is not primarily motivated by fusion as a public energy source (although it will be used for research on that too, on the side) but by military considerations. Now that live nuclear weapon testing has been banned, ensuring proper operation of nukes can only be achieved through simulation and such tests facilities as the NIF and MJ. That's really why both were created. And by the way, MJ is not a European project but a French one: nuclear deterrence is at national level only, Europe is not involved in such military stuff.
Also, it seemed to me NIF and MJ are cooperating actually (sharing parts of the design and costs), so opposing them or saying one is a copycat of the other seems silly. Not that I'm an expert on such stuff, so take with a grain of salt and double check if you care.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (3, Insightful)

dutchd00d (823703) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122439)

NASA went to space...

... using the expertise of a bunch of German rocket scientists.

The US has Boeing...

... thanks to the jet engine, invented by a Brit.

America's special talent seems to be taking inventions from others and making them fit for mass consumption(*). But I'm not so sure they're the great innovators you claim they are.

(*) A trend that was curiously reversed with the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39124127)

You forgot Jeans... Strauss was an immigrant.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39125515)

NASA went to space...

... using the expertise of a bunch of German rocket scientists.

...and chased there by the Soviets (first artificial satellite, first animal in orbit (though not the first in space), first man in space and first EVA).

Europe's research emphasizes other Topics (2)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122469)

I assume a "+1 funny" as otherwise I'd have to assume that you're oblivious to the numerous scientific contributions for which Europeans have received recognitions like the Nobel Prize or the Fields Medal. You've got a point though: research around the globe is tightly coupled and so the funded projects resemble each other. You could add Japan to the mix. Their K computer isn't just a copy of some IBM BlueGene or such. And it's currently the fastest machine, at least until BlueGene/Q results are in.

Europe on the other hand doesn't have a serious computer hardware industry. The only chip manufacturers left (e.g. IBM, AMD, Nvidia, Fujitsu etc.) are all non-european. For a layman, this may make it kind of hard to imagine what Europe would spend its funding on, if they can't build the hardware themselves. Well, it turns out that software is a major part of exascale computing because at that scale effects (e.g. reliability of the hardware, scalability of IO) play a major role, but didn't hurt as much on the Petaflop machines. Now, when you turn your face to the software aspect, then you will see that a sizeable part of the papers published at the relevant conferences (e.g. http://sc11.supercomputing.org/ [supercomputing.org] ) are European, and in many aspects they set the benchmark in terms of scalability and performance.

That said, it's hard to find a purely European or US project nowadays as many research institutions collaborate

Re:Europe's research emphasizes other Topics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122559)

"Europe on the other hand doesn't have a serious computer hardware industry. The only chip manufacturers left (e.g. IBM, AMD, Nvidia, Fujitsu etc.) are all non-european."

Actually that's not true. Of course Europe lacks behinds in terms of computing hardware but there are many companies in this field. Especially in Germany there are many companies that produce embedded computing equipment like Infineion and Bosch among others. And please don't forget that ARM is a british company...

Re:Europe's research emphasizes other Topics (1)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122601)

ARM is a good point, yes. But they only sell IP cores (i.e. they license their designs), they don't sell physical chips, not to mention complete systems. Infinion, Bosch and Siemens all have IT hardware related branches, but they're more into automotive and automation. None of them sells CPUs that are applicable for HPC.

Re:Europe's research emphasizes other Topics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122689)

That's kinda right but there are HPC producers like BULL S.A.(they have even one Computer in the novemeber 2011 Top 10) and Mainframe Prdoucers like Fujitsu Technology Solutions that is actually a german company, production sites of Global Foundries based in Germany that . But why would you even bother to produce the CPUs yourself? There are no trading restrictions on CPUs...

pre-Franklin intellectuals (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122503)

Most of the really competent scientist in the US are foreign-born and have always been.

As for copying it has been a give and take for the few decades the US has had any intellectuals at all.

How many pre-Franklin intellectuals can you recall? Where were they born?

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (1)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122619)

We all played catch up to the _Germans_ which are _European_. The US hired Oppenheimer to build their shit, the Russians stole the blueprints and did it themselves. Thats how the US got to space, that is how the Russians got to space.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (1)

Exceptica (2022320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122931)

Keep watching Fox News, citizen. We have always been at war with Eurasia!

The truth seems to be that the space program was failing left and right and only because the US sadly chose to play the fear card in foreign policy they decided to go head to head with the USSR and enter a race that would have been another Vietnam without the help of german rocket scientists. In nine years a man was put into space. That is not enough time to research space travel and learn by oneself, it's only enough to apply knowledge one already has. All of the surviving astronauts have since said very clearly that the Apollo 11 and the following spacecrafts were a death trap and this is not how the 'space race' was politically broadcast, so to speak.

I somewhat admire the US in the post-WWII era as a country that managed enormous wealth to benefit its people. Everyone able who could migrate from Europe went to the US, no wonder it became the better nation on Earth. My understanding is that it has been going down since. I look at the free press index and I despair to know about the human right violations that have occured on US soil after 9/11 and the ones you perpetrated everywhere outside US soil before 9/11. It's unpopular to say but you deserved it just like a playground bully deserves that someone teaches him a lesson; it was a pity that people had to die again and that you, again, chose to 'retaliate'.

The era of empires is over because they don't work. All have fallen. In recent history the USSR fell and the US is crippled by debt, inability to innovate where it matters (certainly not paper-trading in the stock exchanges) and other powers rising and we are going into a world with multiple focal points, interconnected to a point unimaginable in the 50s, more sophisticated, less dogmatic and maybe, one would hope, more benevolent. I am continuously surprised by work done outside of the USA-Europe 'axis' and you pointing your finger everywhere and calling everything 'copies' will not stop it from being. No one has a monopoly on wealth, science or understanding. Or stupidity, it seems.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39123479)

Odd, I would certainly recommend Europe for its long-running, cutting edge accelerator facilities (such as CERN and DESY), because they actually get built and used. The failure of the SSC was traumatic for physics research in the US, but it was of course an overly ambitious project to become top dog in a field where it was slipping fast. It's easy to make fun of the LHC project, which was much less ambitious and was built for "only" 5 billion dollars (2.5 times what the US spent on the SSC before giving up on it) using existing infrastructure, but the fact is that it got built and that it is significantly more powerful than anything else around (and in sight).
Fusion research is worldwide, with US, Europe and Japan trying not to duplicate their efforts (and cooperating on most projects), but Europe taking the lead in recent decades and the near future: JET, ITER and (eventually) HiPER are European projects. The LMJ and NIF projects are not really a part of this, as they are both national projects (LMJ is French) which focus on military use of the technology. They are essentially part of the French and American nuclear weapons programs. The fact that they are more or less pursuing the same technology is no surprise considering their intent. Their civilian counterpart is the European HiPER project which has a very different approach to the hardware, which is necessary to make the technology economically viable (as opposed to militarily useful). As far as I know the US hasn't copied the HiPER project yet (which - in fairness - hasn't even started construction yet either), but I would not expect it to as research in civilian applications of nuclear energy in the US has been very limited in recent decades.
European research in green technologies runs ahead of the US and has for a long while, although there are significant programs geared for military application where the US is at least as far along (and probably ahead).
I agree that ESA is a much smaller version of NASA, with a much more limited scope. But last I checked the International Space Station could only be reached by Russian, European or Japanese launch vehicles. Oops. At least it gets American cosmonauts to study Russian again, right?
All kidding aside, I don't think it is necessary for the US to have the biggest, most advanced research programs in the world, so the fact that it does not is not a big deal. It does very well by supporting European and worldwide initiatives, gaining most of the benefits of the research for a minimal cost. A salient example is the world wide web (in as much as its based on HTML), which was created by European researchers at CERN, but commercialized in the US. As long as research is done openly, with international access to key facilities and data, the US will be able to capitalize on progress. For the part where cooperation does not work, i.e. military research, the US spends more than anyone else, so it remains supreme.

Re:The problem with Europe is they are duplicators (1)

JustLikeToSay (651328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39124135)

Xerox?

Welcome to 3rd World America (4, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121813)

The USA is well on it's way to 3rd world status. We will fall behind because we are not funding fundamental research.

We have no ability to put humans in space.

We no longer host any major sub-atomic research facility. The generation after the CERN will not be in the US. We're not even in the running.

The next big ground based radio telescope will not be in the US.

The NASA planetary exploration budget is being diverted to fund private launch companies. If there was a viable economic model for space transport, then private sector equity funding would be available. It's not. Many of the commercial space ventures are funded by individuals who made fortunes in software (Musk, Carmac, Bezos, Allen. Branson, but in music and transportation), Wall Street is not betting on making money in the launch sector. Putting NASA money into launch ventures is not basic science R&D.

We are, however teaching creationism and climate change denial in schools. Most of the Republican presidential candidates are anti-evolution. Santorum just said that he is "pro-science", and the Democrats are anti-science. This is clearly in 1984 territory: Ignorance Is Strength.

Most Slashdot readers will experience the slide into 3rd world status during the course of their lives.

Re:Welcome to 3rd World America (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121891)

With regard to the radiotelescope, the US doesn't have any suitable noise free sites. There's a reason that the SKA is being placed in the least populated part of the least populated continent on the planet. Most of the equipment for the telescope is going to be Intel Inside.

Re:Welcome to 3rd World America (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122569)

With regard to the radiotelescope, the US doesn't have any suitable noise free sites.

It's also in the northern hemisphere, which has already been well studied. Yet the majority of really interesting objects (notably including the center of our galaxy) are in the southern sky. There's no particular reason for this — it's pure happenstance — but it does mean that we want a good radiotelescope well south of the equator. (To be fair, Hawaii's probably far enough south for many of the interesting targets and the ocean surrounding it really isn't that radio-noisy, but it's not large enough for an instrument like the SKA. It's planned scale is really brain-boggling.)

Bullshit doomism (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121999)

I'll just address one point:

We have no ability to put humans in space.

Temporarily, because we have MULTIPLE private companies working to that end. In just a few years we'll have multiple private companies that can put way more people in space than any government ever has, a far superior situation to be in.

Do not mistake transition for defeat.

Re:Bullshit doomism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39123109)

I think this comment needs to be bookmareked, so we can come back in few (lets say four, rather than three) years and see what the state of play is.

Re:Bullshit doomism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39127353)

"we have MULTIPLE private companies working to that end. In just a few years we'll have multiple private companies that can put way more people in space than any government ever has"

We'll see if they manage anything that comes close to starting practically from scratch and putting men on the moon three years later.
These private companies did not start yesterday, I estimate they've been at it for about one year already.

So: men on the moon by 1014, 2015 at latest - or the private companies do -not- do much better than any government ever could. They are not starting from scratch so it should be relatively easy to achieve.

Do not mistake sales talk for truth.

Re:Welcome to 3rd World America (3, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122615)

You know what's worse about this?

The fact that it matters to you.

The US doesn't need to be the best at everything to be a good country to live in. You should be happy of technological improvement wherever it happens.

Re:Welcome to 3rd World America (4, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39124897)

Instead of saying "welcome to 3rd-world America", say instead "welcome to prewar America".

Seriously - the ongoing wailing about "the US is falling behind" is getting a little tiresome.

First, lets dispense with US exceptionalism. I love my country, and there are a number of notably special things about its situation geographically, culturally, historically, etc that make it a unique place but Americans are not (and have never been) intrinsically smarter, prettier, faster, stronger, or any way different than any other cross-section of humanity. We have the same proportions of brilliant scientists and racist a-holes as pretty much any other random bunch of 330 million people you'd gather in the world.

Secondly, and more directly to my point - to fear the US 'falling behind' speaks to a staggering level of ignorance of the last 100 years of world history.

In 1912 - a mere 100 years ago - the list of great powers in the world would have been Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Austria/Hungary, and only marginally, the USA. The US was a largely agrarian country of mostly first-generation immigrants, late industrializing and largely disconnected with Old World affairs.

Yet after two catastrophic continent-spanning conflicts in 25 years (and a not-insignificant influenza epidemic), the three leading European states were prostrate - two from their almost-Pyrrhic victory (UK, France), one lay dismembered and occupied after being pummeled nearly into dust (Germany) - one of the powers entirely ceased to exist (A/H), one emerged from civil war at least superficially changed (Russia - USSR), one emerged from nowhere (Japan), and only one was basically unscathed - the United States.

In the two conflicts total deaths over the span of these listed powers totalled something more than 50 million. US fatalities were approximately 500,000. Possibly more significantly, the wars had completely devastated the industrial, technological, and even cultural infrastructure of the old world, with the subsequent Cold War arguably further contributing - paralyzing truly independent European development for 4+ decades.

The US was in the historically-unique position of being a superpower by default, not by inclination. US armies had not marched all over the world subjugating enemies, conquering colonies, and gathering territory for the motherland. (Certainly the US had engaged in its own efforts in colonialism like other Powers of the day, much of it naked military conquest barely cloaked as 'liberatory' exercises.) But it's clear that even the burgeoning jingoism of the early-20th-century US wasn't posed as a challenge to the Great Powers, except insofar as it was competitive to Old World efforts to colonize and dominate the largely-unexploited Western Hemisphere. Instead, the US was largely aimed at internal development, a patronizing benevolence toward other peoples of the Western Hemisphere, and essentially (even as late as the early 20th-century) a *revolutionary* geopolitical stance vis a vis the Old World states and their efforts to "lock down" most of the undeveloped world into agreed-upon exclusionary spheres of influence.

For emerging in 1945 as the dominant superpower on the planet, it should be astonishing that the US began the 20th century with a second-rate navy and almost no army to speak of.

In fact, as a superpower, one might point out that the US has been particularly clumsy. Certainly, many anti-Americans (and we've generated many of them) would point to the scores of bad US foreign policy decisions as clear signs of its essentially-malignant nature; in point of fact, most if not all were simply colossal blunders born of a government run by unsophisticated and unsubtle men born and raised in a country that was (in their day) fairly irrelevant. Wilson's naivete in insisting on national boundaries in post-WWI Europe almost guaranteed non-self-sufficient states vulnerable to Caesarist populism. Read about the WW2 conferences between Stalin, Churchill, and FDR - FDR, for all his (American-style) urbanity, was often easily manipulated by the others. No state's foreign policy is without mistakes, certainly. But as US arrogance grew in the 1950s and 1960s, our clumsy, shortsighted and usually reactionary choices often ran roughshod over our own interests.

The fact that the US emerged later from the Cold War as the sole superpower speaks more to the intrinsic contradictions (and weakness) of the Soviet system and the inherent systemic benefits of capitalism, than to any particular cleverness of US policies. Like 50 years earlier, the US didn't "win" the Cold War so much as "remain standing" when its opponent finally collapsed - mostly, I'd argue, as a result of America's geographic situation with abundant resources and a nearly-unassailable location, and (one of the few attributes I'd characterize as a generally unique feature of American culture) and an entrepreneurial and independently-minded populace .

The point is that now - roughly 2 decades after the Cold War ended with a whimper, and 2 full generations since WW2 - the Old World has finally essentially recovered. European states no longer act as simple proxies for Superpower policies, they have formed their own agglomeration that allows them finally to pursue truly independent foreign policy. (Further, it's not trivial that much of what's left of the US industrial base is pre-WW2, when European infrastructure is a good 20-30+ years younger.)

So in this broader context it shouldn't surprise anyone that the US, which has always been a deeply religious, insular country EXCEPT when superpowerhood was thrust upon it (and which it wore fairly uncomfortably), is losing its dominance in technology, economy, etc. Not much here has changed, everyone else is returning to normal.

As a Minnesotan, one of the least-attractive characteristics of my fellow-staters is often a seemingly-pathological need to be "noticed". We're considered flyover country by the bulk of the population on both coasts, and this seems to activate a sense of insecurity and a need for attention. I see a disappointing parallel in histrionic comments from Americans arguing "we're not falling behind!". Sure we are, if you want to put it that way. I'd rather recognize that finally the rest of the world has recovered. I'd rather be enjoying the benefits of being in the middle of a pack of successes, than being the sole superpower upon which the rest of the world depends.

Did anybody else (1)

Vegemeister (1259976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121957)

Did anybody else first interpret the headline as commentary on the national debt?

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122007)

I'm currently funding this with what I do at work. This for once, is a great example of what the govt shouldn't do.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122079)

I object to the government funding the roads that allowed you to go to work. I don't want my money to be spent that way.

Exascale tech = galactic elevator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122121)

As a mechanical engineer with only a hobbyist interest in IT, my first assumption was exameters -- and as an exameter is 100 light years, or approximately the Milky Way's thickness, it seems we should at least get megascale tech working before spending billions on exascale.

calculating wheather and eartquakes (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122449)

From the article:

"As for China, 'the Chinese are very practical in this regard,' said Joseph. 'They are very interested in how they use their machines to make their industries stronger.'"

LOL

This fits my picture of Europe, US and Japan calculating wheather, eartquakes and nuclear explosions, while the Chinese let their industry sector use it to improve their products.

and where (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122669)

does all this funding come from? oh, that's right, the euro-weenies' high taxes

Exascale computing: DNS of flow around airfoil (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122713)

Resolving the turbulent flow around an airfoil with a Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS, i.e., without a turbulent model) requires an exascale computer in order to be practical (i.e. only take some weeks).

At the moment there is a whole science of creating turbulence models for approximating turbulence behavior. However, because turbulence is one of the most important unresolved problems of classical mechanics, none of the models work in all cases, and in some cases, none work.

We are still far from having "exascale on the desktop" but some practical DNS simulations will give a lot of insight into turbulence, allowing us to develop better turbulence models with the corresponding improvements in energy efficiency (e.g. aerodynamics, combustion, lubrication,... for applications in combustion engines, wind turbines, cars, trains, ships, airplanes, weather forecasting...).

So? (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122995)

They'll be running Windows.

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