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Council on Competitiveness Press Release: New Report Explores the Value of Government Leadership in Supercomputing for Industrial Competitiveness

New Report Explores the Value of Government Leadership in Supercomputing for Industrial Competitiveness

As the United States pursues the next generation of computing (exascale), new software-centered partnerships could be the key to maximizing economic benefits for Americans

(Washington, DC) - The Council on Competitiveness (Council) today released Solve. The Exascale Effect: the Benefits of Supercomputing Investment for U.S. Industry. As the federal government pursues 1exascale computing to achieve national security and science missions, Solve examines how U.S.-based companies also benefit from leading edge computation and new technologies first funded by government. The report also explores what actions are likely to unleash greater industrial competitiveness.

Key Findings:
  1. More than one-third of U.S. industry representatives surveyed claim their most demanding high performance computing (HPC) applications could utilize 1,000-fold increases in computing capability over the next five years;
  2. Software scalability is the #1 most significant limiting factor to achieve the next 10-fold improvement in performance, and it is the #2 most significant limiting factor to reach a 1,000-fold improvement;
  3. Industry respondents recognize that government investment in leading-edge HPC benefits their companies and industries. An overwhelming majority of respondents believe HPC is a matter of competitive survival and is critical to the future direction of their businesses. However, many respondents also note that the links between government and industry need to be strengthened.
“Solve builds on over a decade of Council leadership to ensure the United States acts strategically to leverage HPC for competitiveness,” said Deborah L. Wince-Smith, President & CEO of the Council on Competitiveness. “The challenge to lead in HPC is complex and continuous, but essential to America’s economy, security and innovative capacity. The Council is proud to convene national leaders from industry, academia, the national laboratories and the federal government to meet this challenge.”

The report was developed as part of work supported by the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research within the U.S. Department of Energy’s, Office of Science. The Council engaged Intersect360 Research to interview more than 100 HPC-using companies in industries such as manufacturing, energy, finance, pharmaceuticals and entertainment. The interviews form the basis of Solve.

62 percent of industry respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Past government investments in new generations of supercomputing have had a benefit on your company/industry.” Only 4 percent disagreed with the statement, demonstrating a 15-to-1 ratio of recognizing the value of government leadership.

The report also finds that companies across sectors rely on several software approaches to achieve their goals. U.S.-based firms indicate that their software use is split roughly in equal shares between in-house code, open- source software, and offerings from independent software vendors. The Council, therefore, urges improved partnerships and programs that engage industry, academia, and the national laboratories to strengthen each software approach. Solve also recommends renewed efforts to help firms not using HPC to integrate that capability into their workflow.

 The co-chairs of the Council’s High Performance Computing Advisory Committee (HPCAC) note:

“It is encouraging that federal computing investments to achieve national missions also advance technology in a way that benefits America’s economy,” said Dona L. Crawford, Associate Director for Computation at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “To advance that objective directly, we allocate a portion of our computing resources to industry partnerships through Livermore’s HPC Innovation Center.”

“I am pleased that the Council reached out to industry on this important subject,” said J. Michael McQuade, Senior Vice President for Science and Technology at United Technologies Corporation. “The findings of Solve support our efforts in the HPCAC to encourage the development of software that will scale to new architectures, build a more computationally skilled workforce, and broaden industry access to advanced computing capabilities largely resident at the national laboratories and university supercomputer centers.”

“As the United States tackles the challenges of building and utilizing ever more advanced computing systems, the Council’s long standing support for strategic investments and practical partnerships are as important as ever for the nation’s competitiveness,” said Steven E. Koonin, Director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. Koonin, the former Undersecretary of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy, added, “Through modeling, simulation and analysis, HPC paves a path for many entities - companies, cities, or individuals to do business in new ways, develop revolutionary products, offer services, and interact in ways that improve everything from health and safety to productivity and entertainment.”

Visit the Council website to download Solve.
The Council on Competitiveness is the only group of corporate CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and directors of national laboratories committed to the future prosperity of all Americans and enhanced U.S. competitiveness in the global economy through the creation of high-value economic activity in the United States. For more than a decade, the Council has led the nation to understand, promote and strengthen America’s ability to leverage advanced computing for competitive advantage. The Council is a non-partisan and non-governmental organization. For more information, see the Council’s website and a full list of publications at Check out the Council on Competiveness’ Facebook page for further updates or follow @CompeteNow on Twitter.

The Council on Competitiveness’ High Performance Computing Advisory Committee (HPCAC) is the preeminent forum for convening HPC expertise in the United States – spanning the HPC ecosystem by including industrial and commercial users, hardware and software vendors, academia, national laboratories, HPC centers, and other R&D institutions. The HPCAC recommends policies and strategies to maintain U.S. leadership in the development and deployment of HPC hardware and application software. The Committee aims to broaden the base of private sector users and accelerate U.S. manufacturing and commercial innovation through advanced computing; supports strategic government investments in HPC research and development to keep America at the cutting edge of advanced computing and convenes top HPC technology leaders across multiple sectors to discuss challenges and act on priorities that will enhance U.S. competitiveness.

1 Exascale = roughly 1,000 times more capable than today’s fastest computer systems.