Who Are the Top500 List Countries?

June 13, 2014 by Gary M. Johnson

Since June of 1993, the Top500 List has been presenting information on the world’s 500 most powerful computer systems.  The statistics about these systems have proven to be of substantial interest to computer manufacturers, users and funding authorities.  While interest in the list is focused on the computers, less attention is paid to the countries hosting them.  Let’s take a look at the Top500 List countries.  Who are they?  How might one characterize them?

Read the entire article at Top500 Blog

Is Qatar About to Join the Supercomputing Club?

May 20, 2014 by Gary M. Johnson

The Qatar National Convention Center was recently the venue for the first meeting of the User Forum of Qatar’s newly commissioned computing infrastructure institute. The National Computing Infrastructure for Research (NCIR) is the latest addition to the Qatar Foundation’s collection of R&D institutes. Is NCIR about to place Qatar on the TOP500 list and join the supercomputing club?

Read the entire article at ISC HPC Blog

Is the Killer App Dead?

May 2, 2014 by Gary M. Johnson

Was it a victim of its own success?

HPC is a tool. We use it to solve problems and make discoveries. At the highest end of HPC, it’s all about capability, not capacity. How does one demonstrate or sell a new capability? Since its inception, the approved solution to this problem has been the killer app.

In the beginning, we didn’t call them killer apps. They were the “Grand Challenges.” The first collection of grand challenges was described in February of 1991 when the US government’s Office of Science and Technology Policy released the first Blue Book – a supplement to the President’s FY 1992 Budget Request for the newly created High Performance Computing and Communications Program. The Blue Book was entitled “Grand Challenges: High Performance Computing and Communications” and contained a listing of the computational science and engineering challenges seen as drivers for federal expenditures on HPC at that time.

As I pointed out in an HPCwire article a couple of years ago (Meet the Exascale Apps, 12 April 2012), those apps haven’t changed much in the past twenty years, and, with few exceptions, they are the current set in global use.

Are the killer apps working for us? Some observers think not. The argument has been made that, as HPC has successfully diffused through many application disciplines over the past decades, the killer apps have morphed into what might better be called the “usual suspects.” So, given that exascale computing projects are currently being funded on several continents, how were they justified? And what does this portend for the future of HPC?

Read the entire article at ISC HPC Blog

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