95 Million Hours of High Performance Computing Time

lion.jpgWhat would you do with 95 million hours of time on a supercomputer if you could get your hands on it?

Quite a few companies know exactly what they’d do with that kind of resource. On January 8, seven companies were named winners of the U.S. Department of Energy’s INCITE program. INCITE stands for Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment. Under this program, 95 million hours of time will be made available on some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers for reserach projects that will leap U.S. companies ahead in science and industrial research. It’s said that our ability to out compute the competition means we will be better able to out compete them too. Outcomputing = outcompeting.

Two of the winners were Boeing and Procter and Gamble. Their speakers at the press event, held at the Council on Competitiveness, talked about how high performance computing will increase their understanding of how to build better products.

Boeing is going to use its time on the supercomputers to simulate flight testing methods to enable them to consider new wing shapes and even engine performance under certain circumstances. The commercial aircraft industry is under competitive pressure to produce aircraft that are faster, at lower cost, safer and more environmentally friendly. That’s a tall order and these DoE supercomputers will help them get there.

Procter and Gamble wants to learn more about the nanoscale behavior of materials that it uses in its thousands of products. There are many ways they can combine polymers and surfactants that affect basic elements of production. Were P&G to do this kind of computation on its own, it would consume most of the company’s computing capacity.

In addition to Boeing and P&G, the other winners are Corning, Fluent, Inc, DreamWorks Animation, General Atomics, Pratt & Whitney. As an insight into how High Performance Computing (HPC) is already used today, the animated film Madagascar used 12 million computing hours. Without this resource, we wouldn’t have DreamWorks’ friendly lion pictured above, or any of his hilarious animal friends.

When completed, the research stemming from these computers will be available to other researchers as well.

The supercomputers that will be used are at National Labs such as Oak Ridge, Argonne, Pacific Northwest and Lawrence Berkeley. For more information including a tape of the news conference discussion, click here or visit the Council on Competitiveness website at www.compete.org. And for a news story on INCITE, click here.