2020 Predictions, Get it?!

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Shiny Crystal Ball

It’s our first episode of 2020, yay! The first that was recorded in 2020 anyway.  It’s a predictable 20/20 joke (more of a meh comment really) but the topic today is… PREDICTIONS. More specifically, it’s our predictions of what’s going to happen in the next year. We may not always be correct, but we think maybe we’re always certain. We look at compute, interconnects, security, and general innovations:


Dan says that we’re going to have more of it. Henry predicts that we’ll see a RISC-V based supercomputer on the TOP500 list by the end of 2020 – gutsy call on that.  This is a double down on a bet that Dan and Henry have, so he’s reinforcing his position. Dan also sees 2020 as the “Year of the FPGA” when we start to see more and more HPC boxes fueled by FPGA, which is something Shahin mostly agrees with while Henry disputes it. We also touch on liquid cooling and process size as part of this topic.


Dan thinks that InfiniBand will announce 400 GBs interconnect by the end of this year – a bold prediction. On a communications note, Henry says that 20% of the US user base will have access to 5G phone coverage by the end of the year. Shahin asserts that only 3% of the market will actually buy it, but Dan and Henry say not so fast – it’ll be closer to 10%. Shahin is looking for a 5G connection for servers. Not as an interconnect, but more as a WAN or a cluster that spans an entire county. On another note, Shahin believes that HPE will formally get into the interconnect business, selling the Slingshot interconnect.

Security Trends

Dan says we need more of it but doesn’t see anything that’s going to move the needle back towards the users. Jessi thinks that security education has improved things security-wise and that will continue in 2020. Henry and Dan disagree. Jessi is adamant.


Dan pegs in-memory computing as a field that will blossom over the coming year(s). Shahin agrees that in-memory is very interesting and ripe for innovation as well. But he also sees a lot of developments in the AI processor space. Henry talks about a new application workflow that will go something like this:  Object > MemMap > Compute on the MemMap file/data > back to Object, with no POSIX in the way. Shahin also sees more quantum supremacy in the news in the coming year.

Letter(s) to the Editor!

We discuss our first letter to the editor, from a listener who wasn’t a fan of the episode where we answered Jessi’s question about why tape is still used. His term for that feature? “Poor.” This prompted Shahin to quip, “I’m surprised we don’t get more of these…..”  Please keep those comments (good, indifferent, or critical) coming, our email is podcast@radiofreehpc.com.

Why Nobody Should Ever be Online. Ever.

This week, Henry doesn’t have a “Reason Why No One Should Ever Be Online. Ever.” He was offline all week, so thus doesn’t have anything to scare us with.

Catch of the Week

Henry:  has no catch, his net came up empty.

Shahin:  was practicing Catch & Release this week, so his creel is fishless.

Jessi:  discusses her new phone. She lost her old one in a Czech toilet (nasty, yikes). This is her first phone upgrade since junior high school – probably 6-7 years – and she’s agog at how the phones have advanced. She can now take pictures and use apps. Yay Jessi!

Dan:   Encourages listeners to have a good year and to let us know what you think via email (podcast@radiofreehpc.com) and twitter (@radiofreehpc). He also highlights the new Radio Free HPC logo along the way.

Listen in to hear the full conversation

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