“Build it and they will come” is one way to approach building a supercomputer, but it’s not what the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) did with Blue Waters, the largest leadership-class National Science Foundation supercomputer. Prior to the system going online in April 2013, Blue Waters staff worked with more than 20 science teams to determine a unique, balanced hardware configuration—a process now known as co-design. Three years later, a sample of 31 science teams that have used Blue Waters were surveyed and interviewed as part of a report meant to judge the effectiveness and productivity of this unique system—housed at NCSA’s home institution, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Using information gathered in the surveys, the report’s authors at International Data Corporation’s HPC division (now known as Hyperion Research) ranked the impact of each team’s findings into an “innovation index”—using a methodology they developed to analyze the effectiveness of 700-plus scientific projects, including international HPC projects. The Hyperion Research analysts noted in the report that “NCSA did an unusually thorough job of preparing [science teams] for Blue Waters.” Read more at https://www.hpcwire.com/off-the-wire/ncsa-highlights-scientific-impacts-three-years-blue-waters/
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