Cloud's supercomputing trickle down effect

Cloud's supercomputing trickle down effect

An IBM executive sees powerful computing power heading for SMEs

Tikiri Wanduragala, a senior systems consultant at IBM, has said that the next big thing to happen in the cloud computing market will be the availability of supercomputing applications to small and medium sized businesses.

Wanduragala told Computerworld UK that he believes this will change the process of manufacturing for mid-sized companies.

"One of the biggest things in the future of cloud computing will be the ability to get supercomputing to mid-sized businesses. For example, fluid dynamics was only in the realm of the aerospace industry and big car companies," he said.

"Now that software is available on general purpose systems, so SMEs can now use it for modelling."

Fluid dynamic systems allow companies to measure the flow of liquids and gases in motion, and have largely been used by the airline industry to calculate moments and forces on aircrafts.

"Making this available to SMEs will completely change the process of manufacturing. An SME won't have to build prototypes to see if they work, they can just model it," said Wanduragala.

"The benefit to companies of having access to this will mean that they can then change their response time to market and change their cost structure."

He added: "It has huge implications. It's those applications that were only available on big clusters; you will begin to see them on smaller arrays and that's when you will see supercomputing in cloud coming in very fast."

Wanduragala's thoughts echo the recent efforts of four UK universities that have partnered to launch a supercomputing hub that aims to provide modelling, simulation and analysis services to SMEs.

The University of Warwick, University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham and Queen Mary, University of London, have each put in £1.5 million into the MidPlus high performance computing centre, while research funding agency EPSRC has provided £2 million in investment.

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