Chapter 12
U.S. Industrial
Supercomputing at NCSA
Merle Giles, Seid Koric, and Evan Burness
e beginnings of industrial supercomputing at the National Center for
Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) are rooted in a rising sentiment
during the 1980s that America had to maximize the benets found at
the intersection of science and industry to compete. National security
concerns borne out of World War II and the Cold War resulted in funding
for supercomputers at the Departments of Defense and Energy, leaving
open-science and open-engineering experts limited access to advanced
computational resources and expertise. ese concerns are described
more fully in Chapter 1.
12.1 Introduction 179
12.2 Scientic Networks and Early Challenges with Data 181
12.3 NSF Award Funds Study of Simulation-Based Engineering
and Science (SBE&S) 182
12.4 Engineering-Centric Industrial Supercomputing 184
12.5 Blue Waters: An Unmatched Supercomputer for Achieving
Sustained Petaops 185
12.6 Engineering Simulation Performance Breakthroughs 187
12.7 Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute 193
12.8 Summary 193
References 193
180 Industrial Applications of High-Performance Computing
NCSAs funding began in 1986 as an outcome of the 1982 Black Proposal
submitted by Dr. Larry Smarr and his colleagues (see Chapter1). Included
in the initial strategy was the establishment of the Industrial Partners
Program, later named the Private Sector Program (PSP). Since 1986, the
PSP has partnered with and provided consulting advice to nearly one-half
of the U.S. FORTUNE50,
in a range of sectors including manufacturing,
oil and gas, retail/wholesale/distribution, health care, pharmaceuticals,
agriculture, food, information technology, bioinformatics, transportation,
nance, and more. PSP’s participation in NDEMC (see Chapter 21) led to
an additional and continuing investment in experts trained in the use of
engineering applications in supercomputing environments.
A selection of large-company partners, both current and former, include
Agriculture: ADM, FMC Corporation, Syngenta
Finance: JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley
Information and Communication Technology, including soware:
AT&T, Cray, Dell, IBM, Intel, Microso, Nokia-Siemens Networks,
American Airlines Sabre Systems, Schlumberger, Simulia Abaqus, Sony
Insurance: Allstate, State Farm
Manufacturers: Boeing, Caterpillar, Deere, Dow, Eastman Kodak,
Ford, GE, Honeywell, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, Rolls-Royce,
United Technologies
Medical and Pharmaceuticals: Abbott Labs, Eli Lilly, Mayo Clinic
Oil and Gas: BHP Billiton, BP, ExxonMobil Upstream Research,
Phillips Petroleum
Retail, Wholesale, and Distribution: Kellogg, Sears
An expectation routinely heard from others is that large companies
have enough money and power to solve all technical challenges themselves.
Aer all, they have eets of PhDs and their own supercomputers, so why
should governments and national agencies bother with collaborating?
e answer is simple: large companies have enough expertise to know
what the problems are and what is not getting done with existing science
and engineering. In other words, it is these companies that push the very
boundaries of science and engineering in ways that no one else can.

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