There are a couple interesting applications of HPC in the media today. You can put these in your pocket for when your Aunt Harriet asks what the devil a supercomputer is good for and why you never went to med school anyway.
From Cray we hear that Boeing’s new Dreamliner came to market faster and better because of HPC:
…800,000 processor hours of computing time on Cray supercomputers went into the design of the highly successful Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Supercomputer-based modeling and simulation is far more efficient, cost-effective and practical than physical prototyping for testing large numbers of design variables. While physical prototyping is still important for final design validation, Boeing engineers were able to build the 787 Dreamliner after physically testing only 11 wing designs, versus 77 wing designs for the earlier Boeing 767 aircraft.
And from Intel we learn that the new Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille has Intel inside:
The technology used to create and render the movie, Intel Xeon processors with Intel Core microarchitecture, helped build the emotional and visual excitement by delivering an experience packed with advances in computer graphics technology including ultra-realistic water scenes with river rapids, lifelike bubbles and book pages that literally “wilt” when turning the wet paper.
The effects in the movie are stunning. Intel isn’t talking about how super the rendering supercomputer used for the movie was, but we do conceptual animation in my center and I can tell you that it was no doubt significant.