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Supercomputing at the Edge: Non-Traditional High Productivity Computing Segment Definitions

by Christopher G. Willard, Ph.D., Erin Diaz, Debra Goldfarb, Addison Snell
for Intersect360 Research (originally published under the Tabor Research name)
April 2008

Tabor Research believes that new technologies, methodologies, and applications are emerging outside of the traditional HPC markets that have the essential characteristics of high productivity computing. These requirements include: leading edge capabilities, incorporating, testing, and perfecting of new technologies and methodologies, and market creation and expansion. This HPC market segment is generating a “new edge” by leveraging major technological advances to enable application growth in non-traditional markets. This new area, which we cleverly call Edge HPC (or eHPC), leverages the experience and technologies of the traditional HPC market, while introducing new areas for innovation. Most importantly we believe that eHPC is at the cusp of significant market generation and growth.

Edge HPC includes a wide set of application areas and a diversity of top level requirements. We thus segment the market based on the physical and/or logical features that define and drive the applications. We are initially defining this market in terms of four major segments:

  • Complex Event and Business Processing – Applications that are driven by continuous data feeds generated by real world events. The applications enter the HPC realm as requirements to maintain low response latencies in the face of growing data volumes exceed the capabilities of standard solutions. Often times these applications have real-time response requirements and demand highly distributed infrastructure.
  • Process Optimization – Applications with profiles that mirror traditional HPC workflows. These applications often make use of technology above and beyond standard enterprise solutions, either in architecture, software, or system management. Applications tend to be data and/or computationally intensive, but run in operational time (i.e. in synchronization with the operational timing of the organization).
  • Virtual Infrastructure and Environments – Applications that implement computer network based business and social structures. These structures range from on-line gaming environments, to multi-person/system training environments, to virtual economies, to virtual social environments.
  • Ultra-scale Computing – Applications that require systems to be specially designed and/or configured to effectively manage node counts that significantly exceed those provided by industry standard products. Ultra-scale requirements appear across multiple applications spaces, and thus this segment may be viewed, in part, as representing an “Other Applications” category.

Going forward Tabor Research will move to track, size, and forecast this market as part of our InterSect 360 service. We will also continue to identify application areas as they arise and to further hone our definitions of this emerging market.



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