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Broadening industrial use of HPC

Computerworld ran an article on Friday that hits some of the high points in the efforts of universities to broaden industrial access to supercomputers

But there’s a problem in getting HPC capabilities into the hands of companies that create jobs. Thousands of businesses could conceivably make use of the systems, but many can’t afford them — leaving HPC’s economic potential largely unrealized….That has prompted some universities and academic institutions to launch programs under which they provide companies with access to high-performance systems as well as technical help.

Interesting fact: IDC puts the amount of money (public and private) in HPC at $10B last year, but

To provide some perspective, consider this: since September, the U.S. government has spent $150 billion to keep insurer American International Group Inc. afloat. Meanwhile, HPC resources are inaccessible to many companies that could benefit from using the technology.

When you say it like that, $10B does seem like a small amount of money.

Highlighted in the article are Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) partnership with the Edison Welding Institute (EWI), the Indiana/Purdue effort to make HPC available to Indiana businesses, and the LSU/Electronic Arts partnership

The role that HPC technology can play in developing new economic opportunities was illustrated in August, when Louisiana State University and the Louisiana government announced an agreement to open a quality assurance center with Electronic Arts Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of computer games and other interactive entertainment software. The announcement followed the development of a digital media academic program that includes increased research in visualization on HPC systems.

The article also mentions Rice’s parallel programming education effort, which I think is the cat’s boots

The university is trying to make training in parallel programming as affordable and accessible as possible. As part of that effort, Rice is developing books that can be downloaded online, partly through a competition that challenges people to write about various parallel computing topics. A number of companies are backing the contest, including Chevron Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Nvidia Corp. “These firms really need to have good people to help them do scientific computing,” Koelbel said.

Dang, wish I’d thought of that as an insideHPC effort. But Chuck probably has better access to infrastructure and, you know, money than I do. I could probably scrape together $2.34 in change from the couch in the insideHPC.com world headquarters.

The article is interesting and well written for a general IT piece about HPC. I recommend a read, especially if you aren’t already aware of these important programs.

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