As we discussed in our previous blog post, there is a sense of growing concern in the high-performance computing (HPC) space over successive generations of supercomputers that have continued to move further and further away from architectural balance between compute and memory resources. This is because compute performance has improved at significantly faster rates than memory and I/O subsystems.
Amdahl’s Rule of Thumb
Gene Amdahl, who gained fame for his seminal work on diminishing returns that became known as Amdahl’s Law, formulated a lesser known second principle that is sometimes referred to as ‘Amdahl’s Rule of Thumb’ or ‘Amdahl’s Other Law.’ This second principle addresses the importance of architectural balance and stipulates a 1:1:1 ratio of FLOPs to Memory Bandwidth to IO bandwidth. With an ideal target of one byte of memory needed per FLOP (matched by one byte of transfer over an external interface), Amdahl believed that computer systems could remain in balance.
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