1998-05-08 - HPC Report

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From: John Young <jya@pipeline.com>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 19b7f799f0a0bb57dc70f82dce013448d86fcecdc9906cd14a976523846c4438
Message ID: <199805082344.TAA21658@camel7.mindspring.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1998-05-08 23:44:57 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 16:44:57 -0700 (PDT)

Raw message

From: John Young <jya@pipeline.com>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 16:44:57 -0700 (PDT)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: HPC Report
Message-ID: <199805082344.TAA21658@camel7.mindspring.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Commerce and Defense released Monday a study of 
high performance computers, national security and export
controls which we have transcribed:

   http://jya.com/hpc/hpc.htm  (Contents, execsumm and Chap 1)

The 221-page report provides a detailed survey of HPC 
applications for national security work with recommendations 
for export controls in the light of advances in distributed
and parallel applications. There's are thumbnails of 200 
projects with indexes of power -- with a glance at crypto 

For brute power the ASCI Red ++ appears to be the 
leader -- and off the chart of customary measurement.

The full report is 1.6MB, and a zipped version is available:

   http://jya.com/hpc/hpc.zip  (1.0MB)


Here's the report's press release:

U. S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Export Administration
May 4, 1998  

Advances in Computer Technology Make Export Controls More Difficult

Washington, D.C. -- Commerce Assistant Secretary Roger Majak and Dave 
Tarbell, director of the Defense Technology Security Administration 
at the Defense Department announced the release of a long-awaited study, 
"High-performance Computing, National Security Applications, and Export 
Control Policy at the Close of the 20th Century," by Dr. Seymour E. 
Goodman, Dr. Peter Wolcott and Dr. Patrick Homer. 

The study has been prepared as part of President Clinton's decision in 
1993 to periodically assess U.S. computer export controls. Today's study 
provides an important contribution to the government's understanding of 
technology trends in the computer industry and national security uses for 
high performance computers.

The study finds that technology is evolving at an astounding rate in the 
HPC industry, rapidly increasing the performance of computers at all levels. 
Key findings include: 1) advancements in microprocessor performance which 
have brought down the costs of HPCs and reduced their size; 2) improvements 
in interconnect devices which have permitted a greater range of products to 
enter the market and helped to make high-performance power more accessible 
and affordable; 3) more open system architectures that contribute to enhanced 
calability; and 4) the ability to network the computing power of smaller 
systems to find solutions to large computational problems.

All of these advancements create challenges for export controls on HPCs. In 
particular, there is growing availability of ever more powerful computers in 
the world marketplace. The market for HPCs is flourishing worldwide with many 
new and used systems for sale through mail order and third party distribution 
systems. The study points out that determining what computing levels can be 
controlled depends on factors such as dependence on vendor support, the 
growing diversity of computer architectures and the scalability of computer 

An earlier study published by Dr. Goodman and his associates issued in 1995 
predicted that computers with speeds of over 2,000 MTOPS would be widely 
vailable in commercial markets by 1997. Those predictions have proved
This new study will be an important reference point for the Administration's 
continuing review of computer controls.