Friday, April 10, 2015

We care about computing, not computers

The title comes from my first HPC supervisor Andrew Caird but if you have heard me speak before this is something I hammer relentlessly.  It is my mantra, my one line mission statement that actually has meaning, and doesn't come from Dilbert.

To many Research Computing resource providers get buried in hardware and get tunnel vision.  Jonathan Dursi recently written article I think really was starting to touch on issues that arise from this provider tunnel vision to hardware.

Here is the deal, for most real science work being done on our platforms.  Researchers use a HPC cluster, or Spark cluster, GPU, etc.  Only because they have to be competitive and timely in their research.

If cloud providers could provide performance and pricing competitive to our local resources with reliable access for all workloads (sorry spot prices).  I would tell our staff to shut everything down, and turn the data center into a racquetball court.

Our team could do so much more for education of researchers in these new tools and moving up the value stack if we didn't have to spend our time with gear.

We care about computing research, not computers.

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