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Supercomputers may be key to stay ahead
Posted by Ken Farmer, Friday June 23 2006 @ 07:38AM EDT

The technology used in aerospace engineering and weather forecasting is being used these days to produce better laundry-detergent bottles and animated movies too, thanks to high-performance computing.

So perhaps it`s no surprise that the use of supercomputers to conduct research and product testing is being heralded by those who use it as essential to the functioning of their business. Supercomputing experts are joining forces with some policy analysts and politicians to increase the use of HPC in U.S. industry, with the loftier goal of keeping the U.S. manufacturing industry competitive globally.

'The country that wants to out-compete must be able to out-compute,' said Suzy Tichenor, vice president and director of the high performance computing project at the Council on Competitiveness.

A survey commissioned by the council, which is a non-profit organization that raises awareness for the need for national competitiveness in the world market, found that those currently using HPC systems in their business activities considered them 'indispensable.' It also reported that what prevents companies from using HPC technology is a combination of education and accessibility.

Enter the Blue Collar Computing Initiative. The program began at the Ohio Supercomputer Center, which focuses on introducing businesses to, and educating them about, high-performance computing.

'We came up with the idea of Blue Collar Computing because we lost a number of manufacturing jobs in Ohio,' said Stanley Ahalt, executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center, which provides computing services and research to companies, universities and other organizations.

'OSC tried to figure out how to improve the economy in Ohio,' Ahalt said. There already are large companies that used HPC systems including Procter & Gamble and Goodyear, Ahalt said. Blue Collar Computing was created to introduce HPC as a means of solving the most common problems in industry.

The use of HPC to solve industry problems is illustrated clearly with the example of Procter & Gamble. The Ohio-based company uses HPC in their research and development phases to improve the quality of its commercial products that include Tide washing powder, Pampers disposable diapers, and Pringles potato chips.

'The software and computing technology used for automobile crash tests is very similar to the technology we are going to use to see if a bottle of Tide will split open if it falls off your washing machine and onto the floor,' said Tom Lange, director of modeling and simulation, corporate research and development at Procter & Gamble.

Currently, only large companies such as P&G as well as Goodyear and General Motors have the type of resources necessary to utilize HPC. With the BCC, OSC hopes to improve software, training, outreach and partnerships necessary to bring those types of technologies to small and medium-sized businesses as well.

The efforts of OSC to integrate HPC to Ohio businesses may soon expand to the national level. On June 1 Sens. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Herb Kohl, D-Wis., introduced Senate Bill 3527, known as the Blue Collar Computing and Business Act of 2006. The bill, supported by OSC, calls for the creation of the Advanced Multidisciplinary Computing Software Institute, which would develop and compile HPC software into an easier format for small businesses, introduce new sciences and technology to small businesses and aid the businesses in using HPC.

'We`ve seen small and mid-sized manufacturers, which provide good paying, family-supporting jobs for skilled workers, dwindle in number and decline in productivity because they don`t have access to the same high-tech equipment that giant companies rely on. It makes sense to establish these regional high-tech centers where expertise can be shared and experience can be tapped -- one-stop shopping for small businesses and manufacturers who want to make sure their enterprises thrive in an evolving marketplace,' Kohl said in a news release regarding the bill.

The act would authorize up to $25 million per year for five years for the Department of Commerce to create up to five new supercomputing centers across the country. The goal of these centers would be to help businesses realize the potential for HPC within their industry, educate employees to use the technology and to develop software to allow businesses to conduct research from their own sites.

Ahalt sees three improvements that will arise from the Blue Collar Initiative. 'It will introduce products faster, introduce better products and will make those products more profitable,' Ahalt said. 'Three benefits: speed, quality and cost.'


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Golden Eggs
(HP Visual Diagram and Config Guides)
Clusters:
CP4000 32x DL145G2 GigE Opteron, Dual Core
CP4000 64x DL145 GigE Opteron
CP4000 102x DL145 GigE Opteron
CP4000 32x DL145 Myri Opteron
Rocks Cluster 16-22 DL145 Opteron
Rocks Cluster 30-46 DL145 Opteron
Rocks Cluster 64-84 DL145 Opteron
LC3000 GigaE 24-36 DL145 Opteron
LC3000 Myri 16-32x DL145 Opteron
LC3000 GigaE 16-22x DL145 Opteron
LC2000 GigaE 16-22x DL360G3 Xeon
ProLiant:
> DL365 System 2600Mhz 2P 1U Opteron Dual Core
DL360 G5 System 3000Mhz 2P 1U EM64T Dual/Quad Core
DL385 G2 2600Mhz 2P Opteron Dual Core
DL380 G5 3000Mhz 2P EM64T Dual/Quad Core
DL140 3060MHz 2P IA32
DL140 G2 3600MHz 2P EM64T
DL145 2600MHz 2P Opteron
DL145 G2 2600MHz 2P Opteron Dual Core
DL360 G4 3400MHz 2P EM64T
DL360 G4p 3800MHz 2P EM64T
DL380 G4 3800MHz 2P EM64T
DL385 2800MHz 2P Opteron Dual Core
DL560 3000MHz 4P IA32
DL580 G3 3330MHz 4P EM64T
DL585 2800MHz 4P Opteron Dual Core
Integrity:
Montecito 2P-16P, rx2660-rx8640 (multi-system diagram)
rx2660 1600MHz 2P 2U Montecito Systems and Cluster
rx6600 1600MHz 4P 7U Single & Cluster
rx3600 1600MHz 2P 4U Single & Cluster
rx2620 1600MHz 2P 2U Single & Cluster
Superdome 64P base configuration
Integrity Family Portrait (rx1620 thru rx8620), IA64
rx1620 1600MHz 2P MSA1000 Cluster IA64
rx2620 1600MHz 2P MSA1000 Cluster IA64
rx4640 1600MHz 4P MSA1000 Cluster IA64
rx7620 1600MHz 8P 10U Systems and MSA1000 Cluster
rx8620 1600MHz 16P 17U Systems and MSA1000 Cluster
Storage:
MSA30-MI Dual SCSI Cluster, rx3600, rx6600 and rx2660
MSA30-MI Dual SCSI Cluster, rx1620...rx4640
MSA500 G2, SCSI
MSA1510i IP SAN 48TB, SCSI and SATA
MSA1500 48TB, SCSI and SATA
Misc:
Dual Core AMD64 and EM64T systems with MSA1500






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