Building on the outcomes and lessons learned from the 2004 and 2005 HPC Users Conferences, the Third Annual HPC Users Conference, Moving Beyond Islands of Innovation, will delve into existing and potential partnerships among HPC stakeholders to accelerate American innovation and competitiveness for regional and national gain. This conference will explore new collaborative models to:

  • Make the most powerful systems available to our most experienced industrial users,
  • Increase HPC usage among companies that are only periodic users, and
  • Introduce HPC to companies that have “never-ever” tapped into its benefits.

For example, how can we link regional HPC assets to accelerate wider HPC usage and turbocharge regional economic development? Can companies that are experienced HPC users drive HPC through their supply chains, stimulating “never evers” to embrace this technology for increased productivity and competitiveness? These and other questions will be explored by senior executives from the public and private sectors. Collaboration has become essential to innovation. Historically, advances in knowledge occurred through the efforts of individual investigators in specific disciplines such as chemistry, biology, physics or mathematics. Think of Einstein, Galileo, Newton, and Darwin. In that environment, expertise meant in-depth knowledge of a particular subject. Today, the nature of innovation itself is changing. Knowledge advances and innovation tend to occur most frequently at the intersection of disciplines, between research and its end use applications. Sometimes it drives the creation of entirely new fields such as nanobiology, bioinformatics or sociobiology. The innovation challenges that compel multidisciplinary collaboration also are likely to be more complex, require faster solutions to achieve competitive gain, will tend to be data intensive and will require significant computational resources. Innovators today need advanced tools to shorten the cycle time between problem identification and resolution. In this competitively demanding environment, there are few areas of technology that hold more promise for energizing innovation and propelling competitiveness than high performance computing (HPC).

HPC has been and will continue to be a key ingredient in America’s innovation capacity. At the national level, it is essential for addressing some of the country’s grand challenges: energy independence, critical infrastructure protection (e.g. power, telecommunications, financial and transportations systems), and revolutionary medical therapies that move beyond reactive to predictive and preventive, to name just a few. But while national innovation capacity is key to competitive advantage, the real impetus for innovation occurs at the crossroads between businesses, research centers, universities, and skilled workers in innovation centers across the U.S. However, collaborative models that promote innovation at the intersection of different disciplines and communities have often been the exception rather than the rule. In addition, progress in innovation is often paced by the availability of innovation accelerating tools like HPC.

Long term sustainability of an innovation economy requires collaboration across the public and private sectors, coupling the best thinking of both along with national and regional HPC facilities and expertise. Leveraging these world-class assets to their fullest is critical if we are going to successfully harness America’s innovation capacity for future economic growth.