In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team discusses a recent presentation by John Gustafson on Next Generation Computer Arithmetic.
“A new data type called a “posit” is designed for direct drop-in replacement for IEEE Standard 754 floats. Unlike unum arithmetic, posits do not require interval-type mathematics or variable size operands, and they round if an answer is inexact, much the way floats do. However, they provide compelling advantages over floats, including simpler hardware implementation that scales from as few as two-bit operands to thousands of bits. For any bit width, they have a larger dynamic range, higher accuracy, better closure under arithmetic operations, and simpler exception-handling. For example, posits never overflow to infinity or underflow to zero, and there is no “Not-a-Number” (NaN) value. Posits should take up less space to implement in silicon than an IEEE float of the same size. With fewer gate delays per operation as well as lower silicon footprint, the posit operations per second (POPS) supported by a chip can be significantly higher than the FLOPs using similar hardware resources. GPU accelerators, in particular, could do more arithmetic per watt and per dollar yet deliver superior answer quality.”
Watch the presentation video
After that, do our Catch of the Week:
- Dan points us to a Register story on IBM’s remote worker crackdown. Rich thinks they should have looked at how well that served Marissa Mayer at Yahoo.
- Rich reminds us that Fortran is alive and well in the HPC world with this recent tutorial video from the Stanford HPC Conference.