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Interview: Seeking Your Customers for HPC Innovation Excellence Awards

Last year, IDC rolled out their HPC Innovation Excellence Awards designed to recognize noteworthy achievements in high performance computing. Nominations are due Oct. 22, 2012, so I caught up with IDC’s Chirag Dekate to learn more.

insideHPC: Why did IDC create Innovation Awards?

Chirag Dekate: The HPC Innovation Excellence Award Program was created to showcase success stories involving HPC across universities, research laboratories and industry. The program seeks to increase awareness of benefits of adopting HPC and justifying HPC investments across the user community, including emerging SMEs / SMBs. Through increased awareness of the quantified impact of HPC technologies and capabilities, regional, national and international funding agencies can better measure the socio-economic impact of HPC. The award program also facilitates garnering public support for continued visionary investment software, services and infrastructure towards performance and data-intensive oriented computing.

insideHPC: Why do you think that HPC ROI has been so difficult to quantify?

Chirag Dekate: We all know viscerally that HPC makes important contributions. From the weather forecasts that we check every morning to designing the automobiles that we drive every day, from consumer products like diapers and detergent container designs to aircraft engines, simulation driven by HPC and data intensive computing are seminal technologies that impact almost every single aspect of our daily lives. But finding a large number of quantified examples of ROI from HPC has been really difficult. Some HPC users don’t track their ROI from HPC, and others need help with quantifying ROI from information on hand. The Innovation Excellence Award Program was designed to identify a larger number of quantifiable success stories and to help successful users to quantify their achievements as needed.    .

insideHPC: Can you tell us about some of the past winners and what set them apart?

Chirag Dekate: Past winners of the HPC Innovation Excellence Award include a broad spectrum of end users and technology developers across multiple verticals throughout the world. The DOD HPC Modernization program has won multiple awards for their innovative application of high performance computing in several critical scenarios such as virtual prototyping of countermeasures and more. The Beijing Genomics Institute won awards for the breakthrough application of HPC technologies to accelerate the innovation and commercialization of genomic solutions. Several national laboratories and supercomputing centers including LLNL, NERSC, the Ohio Supercomputing Center, the Shanghai Supercomputing Center, CDAC, Cornell University CAC, and others have won recognition for their efforts in broadening the impact of HPC technologies.

All of the simulations demonstrated one or more of these criteria: economic impact, acceleration of key industrial and simulation processes, and more. IDC worked with several application candidates to develop ROI narratives based on econometrics and market impact.

insideHPC: What makes for a good submission?

Chirag Dekate: Many users of high performance computing and data intensive computing have important stories to tell. But the achievements have to be both impressive and quantified. In some cases it is easy to develop ROI quantifications, as the economic impact is relatively obvious. In other cases, IDC works with the candidates to determine the economic impact of the technologies. We’re a research organization, and we can often relate their achievements to other research data we’ve created or have access to.

insideHPC: When is the next round of submissions and awards?

Chirag Dekate: The award program accepts submissions year-round. Nominations can be submitted through the HPC Innovation Excellence Award Website. The awards winners are announced around the two major supercomputing conferences – International Supercomputing Conference (June) and the Supercomputing Conference (November). The deadline for the upcoming round of submissions for the HPC Innovation Excellence Award is October 22, 2012.  Winners will be announced at the IDC Breakfast Briefing at the Supercomputing Conference, on November 13, at the Hilton Salt Lake City.

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