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, itâ€™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 didnâ€™t call them killer apps. They were the â€śGrand Challenges.â€ť The first collection of grand challenges was described in February of 1991 when the US governmentâ€™s Office of Science and Technology Policy released the first Blue Book â€“ a supplement to the Presidentâ€™s FY 1992 Budget Request for the newly created High Performance Computing and Communications Program. The Blue Book was entitled â€śGrand Challenges: High Performance Computing and Communicationsâ€ť 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 havenâ€™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 â€śusual suspects.â€ť 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