The Rice University Center for Computing at the Margins (RUCCAM) is a new center that explores solutions to the physical and energy limitations currently restricting the continued expansion of computing capacity required to solve emerging work load problems. The research team consists of dedicated Rice University professors and specialists from universities around the world who intend to change the manner in which resources are utilized, even at the margins of stability and accuracy, in order to increase the efficiency at which answers can be calculated.

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Improving Supercomputing Accuracy by Sacrificing Precision

by Michael Feldman, November 5, 2016 03:03 CET

In what seems paradoxical, a group of computer scientists have demonstrated that reducing the mathematical precision in a supercomputing computation can actually lead to more accurate solutions.  The premise of the technique is to apply the energy savings reaped from lower precision calculations toward additional computation that will improve the quality of the results.math formulas image from Top 500 website

In a paper written by a team of researchers from Argonne National Laboratory, Rice University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the approach is summarized thusly: “We pick as our base computational budget the amount of energy consumed to solve a given problem to a given error bound using double-precision arithmetic. We then examine how that same energy budget can be used to improve the error bound, by using lower-precision arithmetic: We save energy by replacing high precision with lower precision and reinvest these savings in order to improve solution quality.”

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