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In Search of the next What’s App – HPC Startup Panel at ISC’14

Here at insideHPC, we’ve always been big fans of Startups in the high performance computing space. HPC can be a tough market, and it seems to me that only the brave test the waters.

Now the International Supercomputing Conference has gotten the Startup bug as well. ISC’14 will feature a Startup panel discussion in the Exhibit Hall Monday, June 23 at 3:15pm. To learn more, I caught up with panel moderator Michael Feldman from Intersect360 Research.

insideHPC: So where did this HPC Startup Panel idea come from?

Michael Feldman

Michael Feldman

Michael Feldman: Actually it was my idea. And since no good notion goes unpunished, I was tasked with putting the session together and being the moderator.

insideHPC: Can you tell us who the featured Startups are going to be?

Michael Feldman: So far we have four companies and we’ll be adding more soon. Right now, we plan to have Adapteva, Extoll, Green Revolution Cooling, and a stealth company I can’t say more about at the moment.

insideHPC: Why do you think HPC Startups are such an important topic for the high performance computing commuity?

Michael Feldman: I think that Startups are where a lot of the innovation comes from. Not just in HPC, but anywhere. We’ve got these big companies like IBM, Intel, and HP, and they all have their research divisions. And they do come up with cool stuff that does get commercialized. But I think the out-of-the-box innovations are coming out of these independents. We’ve seen that. And sometimes the larger companies swallow them and sometimes they become self-sustaining companies on their own and add their innovation to the community.

I think that in any tech field, these Startups are crucial to inject the different kinds of innovation that really can’t be sponsored at a large company that has a lot of competing interests and agendas.

insideHPC: So that agility and focus we see from Startups is key to diverse innovation. At the same time, I think a companies like HP does some very innovative things for HPC, but we don’t hear a lot about them.

Michael Feldman: Right. For example, Memristors are a very interesting technology, but it may or may not get commercialized because of the business model of HP or other competing agendas there. But if you had an independent person doing this with enthusiasm for bringing it to market, that’s a very different model and approach.

So when I was a writer back at HPCwire, I was always intrigued by these entrepreneurs as the most enthusiastic people I would talk to, ever. And they always had interesting stuff to tell you even if they eventually failed. I think it added a lot to the total picture of the HPC space.

ISC’14 takes place June 22-26 in Leipzig, Germany. Online registration will start on March 14, 2014.

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