Computer Scientists Find ‘Inexact Computing’ Can Improve Answers

Computer Scientists Find ‘Inexact Computing’ Can Improve Answers

Published By: Rice University News & Media, 10/20/2016

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Researchers at Rice University are investigating whether the use of “inexact computing” can make supercomputers more energy efficient. They are seeking to optimize calculation speeds and decrease the power input needed to yield high-quality solutions.

Extended Discussion Questions

  • If inexact computing is successful in optimizing the energy use of supercomputers, what potential impacts might it have on everyday devices that you use?
  • What are some of the advantages of the traditional high-precision computing approach?
  • The inexact computing approach sacrifices precision for increased efficiency when finding solutions. What level of precision would you be willing to sacrifice? Consider problems such as time keeping on aircraft or GPS positioning for driverless cars.

Related Article

“Supercomputing’s Super Energy Needs, and What to Do About Them”
Published By: ACM News, 9/24/2015 || View the Article
Gives a quick idea of how much energy supercomputing can require.

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.2.1 Explain how computing has impacted innovations in other fields.
  • LO 7.4.1 Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.2.1B Scientific computing has enabled innovation in science and business.

Other CSP Big Ideas:

  • Idea 4 Algorithms

Related Post

Beyond Silicon: Squeezing More out of Chips” covers how inexact computing offers potential solutions to the slowdown of growth in processing speed.

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