The S-Curve Bends Twice

A Petaflops Post-Mortem and the Computing Imperative

Thomas Sterling
Department of Computer Science
Center for Computation and Technology
Louisiana State University

Center for Advanced Computing Research
California Institute of Technology


Computer Science and Mathematics Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

All technological advances ultimately are driven by need (recognized or latent) and enabled by an opportunity gap. Together these are represented by the classic S-Curve where the gap is the vertical distance between the two asymptotes and the investment barrier, prior to realization, is the length of the bottom start-up segment. But S-curves are soft-sloped entities and at any point in time, they feel like straight lines often misconstrued as implying a perpetual future direction. However, the ultimate emergent behavior is saturation and the resulting stagnation due to their insidious property of one and only one point of inflection; that is S-curves bend twice. This talk will describe the realm of the S-curve in technology development with past examples and apply it to the current domain of high performance computing and its implication for future strategic goals.

Sandia National Laboratories | Privacy and Security

Maintained by: Bernadette Watts
Modified on: February 23, 2006