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HPC is everywhere – and it's coming soon to the WWT Advanced Technology Center.

It's a common misconception that high-performance computing (HPC) solutions are only for the largest of companies, and only for energy or scientific use cases. While those are common scenarios for leveraging HPC, they are far from the only real-world use cases. 

Today, HPC is integrated into the everyday lives of people at work, school and home. Many consumer products, such as voice-activated personal assistants, weather apps, assisted or self-driving automobiles and even smart doorbells, make use of HPC to provide their services.

The combination of modern computational, storage and networking capabilities with massive data sets that are collected by mobile, IoT and edge solutions brings us to the realization that HPC is only going to grow in importance.

WWT is concentrating on key technologies and partners to better enable customers to quickly leverage HPC solutions. Below are some highlights of a few key HPC use cases, as well as WWT's approach to enabling HPC solutions with our customers.

Use Case #1: Big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence

Certain big-box stores are already applying HPC to enable capabilities such as stronger cybersecurity, location awareness and biometrics for real-time insights that help enhance the customer experience.

Major retailers, online and brick-and-mortar alike, are among the first users of customer data collection and analysis for improving services and personalizing the shopping experience. Retailers with loyalty programs are predicting what shoppers will purchase before they even know what they're looking for. Improved seamless customer experiences (CXs) and personalized shopping are now possible with HPC-class systems driving scalable machine learning.

In fact, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning workloads are flip sides of the same coin. WWT is driving to help customers understand that high-performance computing is essentially AI and big data on steroids: the same ingredients, just more of everything at greater scale to arrive at actionable results more quickly.

Use Case #2: Oil and gas extraction

In the pre-digital age, determining where to drill for energy resources required a lot of wells and much educated guesswork by geologists and geophysicists. Now, HPC models are allowing oil and gas explorers to peer into the depths of the earth – and in the process, they're helping make drilling more efficient and less damaging to the environment. 

WWT anticipates dramatic growth in innovative extraction technologies as global reserves become less accessible. Already, one of the world's largest commercial HPC systems is being operated by an oil and gas company. HPC enables geologists to use seismic analyses to model what exists thousands of feet beneath the earth. Their computations are being processed close to real time, so that drillers receive constantly updated instructions where to bore and can adjust accordingly. 

With HPC, exploration teams can employ vertical and horizontal drilling to follow a seam up and down, left and right, to maximize the resource without collapsing or pinching out the well. It's one of the largest data problems in the world, but high-performance computing is solving it now.

Use Case #3: Health sciences

The future of healthcare is personalized medicine, advancing past genomics to targeted proteomics that create unique medical treatments customized for each patient. Gone will be the days of animal testing and extended human trials, replaced by patient-specific therapies and treatment regimes.

Already machine learning is creating systems that can diagnose disease with accuracy to equal human clinicians. "Robot-assisted" surgery is well established, and soon radiological procedures will attack tumors from many angles, guided by HPC. In fact, the ability to map the individual body will advance so that a physician will be able to "fly" through the body in virtual space – eclipsing the capabilities of MRIs.

Understanding WWT's new focus on HPC

WWT is extending the capabilities of scalable, price-performant HPC in ways that go beyond the classic use cases. Rather than focusing only on the largest single-use HPC systems, WWT is also focusing on capacity computing to enable existing businesses to run many computations from many different workflows.

For example, an automobile manufacturer might use HPC to design vehicles that are faster, safer, cheaper, more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient. Or, a sports equipment manufacturer may run computational fluid dynamics analyses using HPC to produce golf club heads that will drive a ball farther and more accurately.

For WWT, one of the key differences between HPC and enterprise computing is the focus on the application workflows and the life-improving results. The idea is to imagine the end-user benefits – quieter, more efficient airplanes, more effective drugs, plentiful energy resources – and then use HPC to make those goals a reality.

WWT aligns itself with high-performance partners

WWT has been in the vendor-rich HPC infrastructure space for some time, but recent advances in the enabling technologies and industry consolidation have provided an opportunity to focus on key market players. 

Leading the field is Intel, which provides the technology building blocks that enable high-performance computing:

Intel in turn provides these HPC technologies to WWT's key OEM partners, including Dell EMC and HPE, rounding out our integrated strategy.

WWT's vision for HPC: see it soon in the Advanced Technology Center

The opportunities for HPC to transform and create businesses are limitless, but it's often difficult for a business to understand if or how HPC can be advantageous.

To help show the art of the possible, WWT is assembling high performance computing solutions in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to help businesses evaluate, design and realize the benefits of HPC.  

Join WWT and Intel at SC'19 at noon on November 20th for an HPC Fireside Chat. Discussion topics include Power & Performance at Scale, Convergence of HPC & AI, and Persistent Memory for Fault Tolerance & Resiliency. 

See you at Intel's booth #1301!