High-performance computing: what it can do and for whom

High-performance computing (HPC) is the future. Read how SMEs can make use of the comprehensive and complex calculations to meet their requirements.

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The simulations in product development processes take place much faster. Complicated components can be reproduced more easily, systems creation can be accelerated – high-performance computing reduces development costs and helps predict decisions more reliably.

What does HPC make possible?

High-performance computing delivers efficient answers to complex questions: How can weather be reliably forecast? Can the events of the Big Bang be depicted? What does modelling of molecules for the development of highly effective medicines look like? High-performance computers are very efficient, using methods like for example dividing complex calculations into parallel entities, which can be processed faster. Organised in a cluster the computing capability can be enhanced even more. But it is not only science and research that can benefit from this computational technology.

Which industries use HPC solutions?

Companies also have highly computing-intensive challenges to master, for which the use of computational resources is indispensable. The sectors cover a broad range: the automotive and supplier industry, aerospace, energy, medicine, urban planning, agriculture, mechanical engineering, and many other branches of industry.

How can HPC systems increase competitiveness?

  • The application of high-performance computing primarily speeds up simulations in product development
  • Development of complex components and systems can be reproduced better
  • Examples include virtual crash tests or investigations of air currents on aeroplanes
  • The virtual model reduces costs for development resources

Which SMEs already use high-performance computing?

  • Optima Pharma GmbH from Schwäbisch Hall makes air currents visible as an essential quality factor in clean-room facilities through the use of simulation and visualisation technology.
  • The company Recom Services GmbH, from Stuttgart, illustrates the processes of combustion and pollutant formation in the plant process with the help of HPC 3D-simulation software specially developed by Recom for industrial furnaces.
  • The Stuttgart-based animation studio A.R.K.13 expanded its computing resources for the Maya the Bee 3D film projects.
  • Airinnova AB from Sweden creates advanced computing models for state-of-the-art aircraft design.

Other SMEs can also benefit from HPC

The HPC-Europa3 programmes are research initiatives funded by the European Union in the area of HPC. Among other things, the programme offers workshops to introduce SMEs to a funding programme that is designed to simplify the introduction of high-performance computing. The workshops provide an overview of HPC for simulations and big-data analytics.

‘Fortissimo’ is also helpful. That is the name of the marketplace that brings providers of HPC together with small and medium-sized enterprises. The Fortissimo marketplace offers European SMEs permanently simple and affordable access to the hardware, software and know-how needed for computing-intensive simulations.

What comes after high-performance computing?

Apparently, Google has successfully developed a quantum computer. Supposedly, this supercomputer can solve problems that up to now had eluded even the fastest computers. However, the information about the supercomputer has not been confirmed. The report originated from a paper leaked online by a NASA employee.

Experts do not doubt the veracity of the report concerning the supercomputer. But they point out certain limitations. Apparently, Google has not yet developed a quantum computer, but rather a chip on which 53 qubits work. Qubits are the quantum equivalent of conventional bits.

This optimisation allows mathematical problems to be solved more quickly than with existing computers. It is said that quantum computers can be of great value to scientific research. These supercomputers might help to cure a number of illnesses, perhaps even cancer.

However, there may also be a downside: with that number of qubits, the new supercomputers could crack almost all the existing encryption algorithms that currently guarantee secure communication online.

However, before that point is reached, the application of high-performance computers already offer many advantages – perhaps for your company, too.

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