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The Violent Waters of HPC

Navigating the waters of HPC has never been easy. We’ve seen more than our share of HPC shipwrecks over the years. Majestic schooners with parallel sails were lost at sea. Exotic, powerful motor yachts, despite their high performance engines, ran aground when they failed to chart safe courses.

What led to these failed efforts? Poor technology? Weak sales management? Or a bigger issue tied to government bootstrapping that puts too much political priority on launching the boat by a certain date so an agency can brag about the program’s success? In almost all cases, these ships failed to stay afloat for one reason: they ran out of money.

Most recently, IBM decided to pull the plug on the Blue Waters 10-petaflops supercomputer that was contracted for NCSA – the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois.

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