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Hats Over Hearts

Rich Brueckner, April 12, 1962 – May 18, 2020

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Rich Brueckner. His passing is an unexpected and enormous blow to both his family and our HPC family.

Rich was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 12, 1962. His first taste of combining HPC and writing was at Cray Research, where he crafted technical documents that were widely used in the company and with customers.

His career with large technology vendors spanned 25 years. In addition to Cray, Rich also held key marketing positions at Silicon Graphics and Sun Microsystems. In 2010, Rich purchased InsideHPC and found his true calling. Over the years, he’s published innumerable articles and literally thousands of videos. He also founded InsideBIGDATA along the way.

Rich was an institution in the HPC community. You couldn’t go to an event without seeing his red hat bobbing in the crowd, usually trailed by a fast-moving video crew. He’d be darting into booths, conducting interviews, and then speeding away to his next appointment. But Rich would never be too busy to exchange a back-slap or hug with friends as he traveled the show floor.

One of the most important pieces of information at any trade show was the location of Rich’s home base for evening activities. At the SC shows, you’d always have to find someone in the know to get this information, since the cities changed every year. But at ISC In Frankfurt, it was always the patio bar at the Marriott. You could find him there every evening either working or holding court or usually both.

While the venue of these events was different in every city, one thing was the same – there was always great conversation and loud laughter. The mixture of people was always amazing – marketing types sitting next to physics professors sitting next to designers of the largest supercomputers in the world.

Many ideas, good and otherwise, came out of these sessions, including the idea of portraying the leaders in supercomputing with sock puppets. These were heady times with Rich’s distinctive laugh ringing out all night long.

Please join Rich’s friends and colleagues from the HPC community to celebrate the life of a most extraordinary man, ‘the man in the red hat.’ Rich’s Celebration of Life will be a Zoom meetings that will take place on Tuesday, June 2, from 4-6pm EST – Learn More

Rich Brueckner

In his coverage of the HPC market, he was tireless and thorough. What Rich brought to the table was a deep curiosity about computing and science, and the people that made the two happen.

His Midwest roots kept him grounded and easily approachable, which is why he was loved by so many. One thing that always shone through with Rich is his genuine interest in people regardless of their background – our Rich was no snob. Rich was one of those guys who you called “solid.” This means that you knew he’d always be there if you needed an answer to a question, wanted to discuss a new business idea, or just needed to talk to a friend.

He was an incredibly hard worker. In addition to his voluminous output for InsideHPC, Rich also found the time to write several works of fiction and film charitable documentaries. This content probably isn’t familiar to the HPC community, links to it can be found on the “About” page of InsideHPC.

While Rich has passed on, his legacy will continue. InsideHPC, will continue to operate, grow, and become even more influential. He will of course live on in the stories we tell when we’re together and the memories we have when we’re alone. Rich, we who knew you will never forget you, you left us wanting more.

This announcement was written by Dan Olds of Gabriel Consulting with assistance from Timothy Prickett Morgan of The Next Platform


  1. Rich has been a friend since we both worked at Cray Research and then SGI. If people got too full of themselves, he knew how to pop those balloons with humor and without offending. The corporate world always seemed a little too restricted for his buoyant spirit, so it was great to see how he thrived and grew on his own with inisideHPC. I was always amazed at how much he got done in a day and at his business acumen. For Hyperion Research, he did a great job videotaping our HPC User Forum meetings and was in the midst of a different project when he died. Thanks to the reputation Rich created, we’ll continue to rely on insideHPC for these things and probably some others. Rest in peace, Rich.

  2. BlackDove says:

    Shocked and saddened to hear this. He will be missed.

  3. Vinod Kumar says:

    This is very sad news. RIP Rich and you will be missed. I have like so many others have learnt so much from your publications.

  4. Karl Freund says:

    Bice job, Dan and TPM. SC won’t be the same without him. Stay well!

  5. Mardi Larson says:

    I am so sorry to hear this news. I remember Rich very well from our years together at Cray. He was a true talent ,and I so enjoyed learning of his major successes and his “Red Hat” ways as he advanced on in his career and with his work covering Big Data and his creative writing. My condolences to all his family and friends as you grieve this sudden loss.

  6. Mardi Larson says:

    I am so sad to hear this news. I remember Rich well during our years together at Cray, and he was a true talent! I enjoyed hearing the wonderful stories of how he grew and advanced in his career covering HPC, Big Data and his “Red Hat” ways. My condolences to you all ~ his family, friends and close colleagues.

  7. Very sad news. My thoughts to Rich’s family. I hugely enjoyed his reports and interviews from the key HPC conferences. He always brought such enthusiasm and expertise to any aspect of the business.

  8. Rich was the best promoter our industry had. I brought to us the science the engineering results and the technology changes, that are changing our world. Big shoes to fill. Very sad.

  9. Peter ffoulkes says:

    For those that are interested his obituary can be be found here:
    Rich leaves a void that is impossible to fill.

  10. Molly Presley says:

    My condolences to his family and his InsideHPC extended family. I can’t remember the number of Rich reports I have done with him but each was one of my favorite parts of an HPC show. Always such fun! Rest in peace kind soul.

  11. Brent Gorda says:

    A loss too great and far reaching to reduce to words. Rich was a unique man: always helpful, always friendly and – yes – able to put people in their place with his humour. He was always available to discuss/debate things – often over a drink. A giving sole with more connections than most – and a willingness to share to see things happen for the community. He will be missed for a very long time indeed.

  12. Jeff Zais says:

    This is very sad and shocking news. It’s a much bigger loss to the overall HPC community worldwide than most know. Rich was a really important part of the network which joined us together. I felt lucky to have known him from the time back at Cray, and through the decades.

  13. sadness

  14. Blake T. Gonzales says:

    Rich will be sorely missed by me and lots of others. What a great guy he was. This news seems surreal.

  15. Scott Misage says:

    sad news indeed. having sat in front of his camera and next to him at the beer table on many occasions, I am lucky to have had Rich as a friend.

  16. Charles Grassl says:

    I knew Rich both professionally and personally for over thirty years. Rich was a true gentleman. Friendly, smart and talented.

  17. Wolfgang Dreyer says:

    It was a honor to know Rick for 20+Years , having spend numerous evenings in Hotel bars, discussing, remembering our root times and exchanging stories of the stone-age in computing. Such sudden and unexpected events always remember to live in “The NOW” as it could be too late tomorrow.

    We will miss you! Your Red Hat – your stories – your energy
    Rest in peace RICH

  18. Rich was and will be an ICON in HPC, He worked with the Best, and Reported on the Rest, He will be missed, but His legacy goes on. Rich understood the reach HPC has on a Country, on an Organization, on Science, on Industry, Thank You Rich for Your passion for Technology, and Your Love for HPC. Our Heart goes out to His Lovely Family, Be Proud of Rich, He was 1 in a Petaflop, unique and persistant.

  19. Roderik Negus says:

    Shocked by this news. Rich and I go way back to being college buddies, then office mates at Cray Research, and we travelled the world together attending HPC trade shows. Rich was a unique individual…one of the most creative and talented people I have ever known and so much fun to be around. Rich’s passing will leave a huge hole in the world.

  20. Colin Faber says:

    I really enjoyed Rich, working with him at Sun Microsystems and the various industry events he was always at. I will miss him and wish his family well.

  21. Thomas M Ruwart says:

    I have known Rich for so long I don’t remember when we first met but I am sure it was at an SC event. I am very sad to hear of his passing. He will be missed.

  22. Robert Bolz says:

    Shocked and saddened. We will all miss his tremendous energy in pursuing HPC news that matters. My condolence to his family and close friends.

  23. Oliver Tennert says:

    I have been shocked learning this, this has been a heavy blow. And while I am really happy to look back upon more than 10 years of working together with Rich, I am really sad never to be interviewed by him again. In what he did and what he stood for, he gave so much to others. Like an ambassador of HPC, he spread the HPC message, giving others the opportunity to stand in the limelight and get heard and seen. The world of HPC will miss him forever. SC and ISC will never be the same again without you, Rich.

  24. Shocked to hear the news. I cannot claim to know Rich personally. But was well aware of his work at insidehpc and his RichReport videos which I have watched over the years on youtube/insidehpc. Admired his work and his commitment to HPC and his presence at all the HPC shows. Ran into him several times at HPC events and was interviewed by him for a product launch several years ago at Altair. Will miss his sharp interviewing skills and his clear and concise approach to explaining topics on RichReport. RIP Rich.

  25. Jim Gutowski says:

    A post so unexpected and sad. I can’t ever explain the bond that Rich formed with me – and probably everyone – such was his gift. I miss him already, reading this notice. So talented, such a loss to the HPC community. Damn it.

  26. John Bent says:

    I was lucky enough to be interviewed a few times by Rich and even more lucky to get to know him. His joy and happiness were ever-present and a wonderful example for all of us. I will try to smile more today and every day and do my best to project Rich-inspired vibes into the world. Absolutely his technical contributions to the field will be a tough gap to fill but that’s not why I’ll miss him. Goodbye Rich.

  27. Philippe Trautmann says:

    Not enough to say that Rich will be missed deeply. Since we met during the Sun HPC consortiums, we have always enjoyed working together. Rich has always been cheerful, helping, knowledgeable and a real people-lover.

  28. CEStevens says:

    The hallmark of a true and timeless legend … always leave them ‘wanting more’ … truer now to be sure and just like every time … over two centuries, across several decades, three iconic brands (and acquisitions and …) and countless countries, cities and conferences (and …)! I will still seek you out everytime, everywhere and you are certain to always be there, in our memories and hearts forever! Passionate promoter of brilliance and celebrator of genius … you are the ‘who’ … the disruptor leading the streaming edge, the champion to capture and celebrate the most complex and the distiller who made it consumable for ‘everyman’ (*literary liberty) and brought brand recognition to innumerable beneficiaries … artificial, intelligent and otherwise. And it is in that spirit and in celebration of you and every precious second of raucous laughter that I share one of the very rare occasions that brought you from behind the lens to center stage … one hell of a ride my friend, thank you … timeless, legend … epic …

  29. Peter Bojanic says:

    Rich was a class act. He’s been part of the Lustre journey since 2007, starting with the HPC renaissance at Sun. He liked technology, motorcycles, and friends. We miss you, Rich.

  30. Paola Buitrago says:

    My most sincere condolences to family, friends, and colleagues. Our community has lost a phenomenal member and one of its most well-known advocates. We already miss him today and will sorely miss him at every single future HPC event. Rest in peace dear Rich, the guy in the red hat.

  31. We have posted a special podcast episode of This Week in HPC remembering Rich. In the spirit of community over competition, I was joined not only by my regular co-host, HPCwire’s Tiffany Trader, but also Tabor Communications CEO Tom Tabor.

    Our hats are off. Our hearts are heavy. Thank you, Rich.

  32. Gretchen Weaver says:

    So sorry to hear this news. As Avere grew, we enjoyed the annual interviews by Rich at SC. He will be missed! Our hearts go out to the HPC community and the InsideHPC team. Rest in peace, Rich.

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