The Portland Group
Oakridge Top Right
HPCwire

Since 1986 - Covering the Fastest Computers
in the World and the People Who Run Them

Language Flags

Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications

Enterprise Tech
Datanami
HPCwire Japan

Blog: HPC Matters

HPC Matters is a joint blog consisting of contributors from the Tabor Communications team on their observations and insights into HPC matters.

HPC Matters | Main Blog Index

Field Research: Il Calcolo Tecnico-Scientifico in Italia


When I saw the front-page article on HPCwire dealing with "cultural analytics" and a debate that originated in the Renaissance, I knew I had to learn more. Being a dedicated analyst, I flew immediately to Italy to check it out. Or maybe I was already in Italy on vacation and decided to check out the HPC scene while I was here.

Whether through dogged tenacity or pure serendipity, here I am in Rome, reading about cultural analytics in between visits to the Colosseum and the Vatican Museum. And my family is sick of me talking about potential HPC applications.

As I view the ruins of the Forum, I can't help but wish I had a pair of "augmented reality" glasses, a potential technology discussed by Jaron Lanier of UC Berkeley at the inaugural HPC Horizons conference. I would love to walk through the ruins with the ability to superimpose a rendering of what they once looked like, from my current point of view, with hyperlinks to additional information that would spare me the three guidebooks I've been carrying around. I'd like to fly, virtually, to the heights of St. Peter's Cathedral or the Sistine Chapel to experience these masterpieces from viewpoints unavailable to my fatigued, earthbound self.

Combining business with tourism, I also stopped in to visit a few of Italy's predominant HPC sites -- CILEA, CASPUR, and a commercial site that will not wish to be named. We talked about what constitutes productivity, what trends they are seeing in the industry, and what areas most need to be improved. On the last point, they were unanimous and emphatic: application software. They were also consistent in describing application areas that push HPC into new, non-traditional areas of research, especially as regarding real-time event processing.

But is any of this new stuff art? In studying cultural analytics, Professor Lev Manovich asked whether there is an overlap between HPC and the humanities. As I bounced between the two on my trip, I came up with a related question while viewing yet another masterpiece. Why don't we create stuff like this anymore?

Certainly, the past century hasn't been without its incredible creations. Sending men to the moon and bringing them safely home again is a feat that may have astonished Michelangelo (although da Vinci might attempt to take credit for the whole idea). PCs and the internet are also marvelous new things. [Insert Al Gore joke here. Here's one for you if you don't have one of your own: "If only Al Gore had stopped with the invention of the internet, instead of going on to invent global warming."]

In analyzing the HPC industry, I see rapid change, and with complex event processing, the drive to extract tenths of seconds of benefit in competitive advantage. We have to compute faster to act faster than ever before.

Conversely, in my vacation from analyzing the HPC industry, I viewed art and artifacts that were hundreds to thousands of years old. Do you think in the year 4000, people will look back the same way at the achievements of today?

The summary sounds best in Latin. Ars longa, vita brevis.

Posted by Addison Snell - July 30, 2008 @ 9:00 PM, Pacific Daylight Time

Addison Snell

Addison Snell

Addison Snell is the CEO of Intersect360 Research and a veteran of the high performance computing industry. During his tenure, he has established Intersect360 Research as a premier source of market information, analysis and consulting.

More Addison Snell


Recent Comments

No Recent Blog Comments

Sponsored Whitepapers

Breaking I/O Bottlenecks

10/30/2013 | Cray, DDN, Mellanox, NetApp, ScaleMP, Supermicro, Xyratex | Creating data is easy… the challenge is getting it to the right place to make use of it. This paper discusses fresh solutions that can directly increase I/O efficiency, and the applications of these solutions to current, and new technology infrastructures.

A New Ultra-Dense Hyper-Scale x86 Server Design

10/01/2013 | IBM | A new trend is developing in the HPC space that is also affecting enterprise computing productivity with the arrival of “ultra-dense” hyper-scale servers.

Sponsored Multimedia

Xyratex, presents ClusterStor at the Vendor Showdown at ISC13

Ken Claffey, SVP and General Manager at Xyratex, presents ClusterStor at the Vendor Showdown at ISC13 in Leipzig, Germany.

HPCwire Live! Atlanta's Big Data Kick Off Week Meets HPC

Join HPCwire Editor Nicole Hemsoth and Dr. David Bader from Georgia Tech as they take center stage on opening night at Atlanta's first Big Data Kick Off Week, filmed in front of a live audience. Nicole and David look at the evolution of HPC, today's big data challenges, discuss real world solutions, and reveal their predictions. Exactly what does the future holds for HPC?