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Future of Supercomputer Centers: an evolutionary ecology view Craig Stewart Executive Director, Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute Associate.

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Presentation on theme: "Future of Supercomputer Centers: an evolutionary ecology view Craig Stewart Executive Director, Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute Associate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Future of Supercomputer Centers: an evolutionary ecology view Craig Stewart Executive Director, Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute Associate Dean, Research Technologies Presented as part of panel “Future of Supercomputing Centers” at SC10, New Orleans, LA, 19 November Panel organized by Thom Dunning, NCSA

2 Citation and license terms: Please cite as: -Stewart, C.A Future of Supercomputer Centers: an evolutionary ecology view. Presentation as part of panel “Future of Supercomputing Centers,” SC10, New Orleans, LA, 19 Nov, organized by Thom Dunning, NCSA. Available from: This slide show is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3. 0/)

3 Diversity and ecosystem stability Shannon Weaver index of biodiversity In general, ecosystem stability goes up as biodiversity goes up Of course, human affairs are different, since recent years have shown us that economies and efficiencies of scale and the wisdom of markets make all this sort of thinking out of date as regards human activities ….or maybe not so much

4 If you think of supercomputing centers as an ecosystem It seems clear that supercomputer center diversity is currently going down over time The biggest centers (at least as viewed from the outside) seem to be doing reasonably well Smaller centers (newer centers, or smaller centers at colleges) are cropping up and sometimes doing very well The segment of the community that seems to be struggling most is the state-level center Our supercomputer ecosystem is not as diverse and therefore not as stable as it once was and we should as a community work to restore diversity

5 We should mind the lesson of Irish Elk From: Atiridor Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unportedhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Irish_Elk_Side.jpg

6 Lessons from evolution about ephemeral food sources Brine shrimp illustration by Jennifer Fairman

7 In supercomputing, ephemeral salary resources…. Transform scientific programmers to generic commercial programmers, and talent is lost to the HPC community – often permanently And decrease attractiveness of scientific computing as a career (what Thanksgiving?)

8 Recommendations Supercomputer centers -Need to diversify more and think of ourselves as more than just supercomputer centers (PTI is trying to do that) -Constantly make the case to our campuses and states -Constantly work with our tech transfer organizations to create real economic benefit -Find ways to add distinctive value in era of cloud computing Campuses and States -Must continue investing in their local centers Funding agencies -Should pursue strategies in funding that provide longer term reliable financial resources -Fund more kinds of centers than supercomputer centers Everyone -Needs to recognize that the US needs a balanced and diverse ecosystem of supercomputer and related centers and doing this requires better long- term support for the people who enable these centers to function

9 Acknowledgments and disclaimer The Indiana Pervasive Technology Institute is supported in part by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment. Thanks to the faculty, staff, and students of the Pervasive Technology Institute and the staff of the Research Technologies Divisions of University Information Technology Services Any opinions presented in these slides are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any funding agency anywhere.


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