Re: Hardware Progress

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Tue Oct 30 2001 - 15:25:43 MST

In May of 2000, the KLAT2 linux cluster set a new
record low cost/Gflops of $650. Today, you can
buy an equivalent cluster for about $175/Gflops,
or about 1/4 the cost in 18 months.

KLAT2 website:

My current estimate for a comparable compute engine
runs like this per node:

Case w/ 300W power supply: $32
1.33 GHz Athlon CPU/Motherboard
  combo w/ heatsink/fan: $162
256 MB RAM module: $27
Networking & Misc parts $100

Total $321/node

1.33 GHz x 1.375 Flop/Hz = 1.83Gflops -> $175/Gflops.

If a human-level AI requires 100 Tflops to run,
and does not require a lot of RAM and hard disk
storage (these are optimistic assumptions), then
you are looking at $17.5 million in hardware cost.

The economic value of a human-level AI can be
estimated as equal to 5 engineers (by working 24x7
rather than a human work schedule) x $60/hr x 2000hr =
$600K/yr. Amortized at 16% return on investment,
that's worth $3.75 million. So our hardware cost is
only about 5 times what it would cost for humans.
At the recent rate of cost drops, we are looking at
2 years to economic crossover.

Raising the memory to 2 GBytes/node and adding 200
GB storage per node will raise the cost about 3 fold,
but that's only another couple of years at current

Dani Eder

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