As I mentioned last week, I recently did an article for HPCwire with a Q&A with Dan Reed from Microsoft about his CCF team and the intersection of clouds and HPC. He expanded on a part of the conversation we had by email with post on his own blog about the intersection of clouds and scientific computing in general.
Let’s step back and gain some perspective, starting with the “Branscomb pyramid” (“From Desktop to TeraFlop: Exploiting the U.S. Lead in High Performance Computing, Lewis Branscomb et al) and the diverse types of technical computing that now exist. We tend to focus on the apex of the computing pyramid, now exemplified by petascale systems intended to support only a handful of applications and users. However, most science is conducted at lower levels of the pyramid, using desktop computers, laboratory clusters and university-scale computing infrastructure. By analogy, it’s exciting to talk about international hypersonic transport, but most people care more about efficiently and painlessly commuting to work each day.
I feel a little sheepish admitting this, but I’m all about baring my soul to you, the dedicated insideHPC reader. I had not heard of Branscomb or his pyramid before my interview with Dan. The picture (and the report, both linked from my article at HPCwire) make perfect sense, and it’s nice to have a handle for that particular bundle of concepts.
And that “twins separated at birth” quote is pure gold I tell ya. Pure gold.