Colloquia Patavina: History of Supercomputers: past, present and future

Martedi' 28 Febbraio 2012 - Gérard Meurant


Martedi' 28 Febbraio 2012 alle ore 16:00 in aula 1A150 della Torre Archimede Gérard Meurant (Former Research Director, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, France) terra' una conferenza della serie Colloquia Patavina.

La Commissione Colloquia
P. Ciatti, M.A. Garuti, M. Pavon, F. Rossi

History of Supercomputers: past, present and future

Gérard Meurant (Former Research Director, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, France)

In this lecture we will describe how the improvement in computing speed and amount of memory of supercomputers has influenced the numerical simulation of complex physical phenomenon. Conversely the need to do more and more precise and reliable computations has had an impact on the computer development, in architecture, processors, storage of data and visualization tools. Supercomputers are commonly defined as the most powerful computers at a given time. Today all these machines are parallel computers with several thousands of processors. We will describe the history of supercomputers since the 1960's and show what was the impact on the numerical simulations that were made possible by those machines. Some of the applications for which progresses were essential are related to everyday's life: weather forecasting, design of new planes or new cars and even the design of new processors and computers. We will describe some of these applications and the improvements that have been obtained. Finally we will try to give some insights about the future of supercomputers and numerical simulation.

-Breve curriculum
Gérard Meurant studied in Paris XI University (Orsay) where he got his degree in numerical analysis in 1972 under the supervision of R. Temam. From 1973 to 2008 he worked for the French "Commissariat à l'énergie atomique". During most of these years he was in charge of supervising the development of simulation codes and their adaptation to new computer architectures for solving different problems from physics. One of his major interest was parallel computing and
parallelization of numerical methods. His last position when he retired in 2008 was Directeur de Recherches. His main research topic is solving linear systems of equations using iterative methods and the estimation of errors for the related algorithms. He published many papers on these topics as well as four books. The last one published in 2010 is devoted to the computation of estimates of quadratic forms with applications to several problems in numerical computations.

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