If you work within a SME, you would be forgiven for assuming that access to supercomputing technology was exclusively the domain of global conglomerates with multi-million pound IT budgets. Although traditionally the preserve of blue chip companies and academia, SMEs can now benefit from the power of supercomputing thanks to the wider availability of technology and falling costs.
Supercomputers are stacks of computer cores mounted together, capable of processing power and speed beyond our imagination. They can process trillions of complex calculations within seconds.
If you have ever shopped in a supermarket, taken a flight, or enjoyed the latest DreamWorks studio animation at the cinema, then you have unknowingly experienced the benefits of supercomputing technology. Asda’s parent company WalMart uses supercomputers for inventory and distribution modeling, to ensure millions of items of stock are in the right store at the right time.
But it isn’t just big businesses that are benefitting from supercomputing technology. It’s now being utilised by an ever growing number of SMEs to power breakthroughs in product, process and service development, strengthening their market position on an international scale.
So how can SMEs benefit from access to supercomputing technology?
Supercomputers have many applications that are invaluable to businesses of all sizes, including advanced modelling and simulation, Big Data analytics, performing complex calculations and rendering high-definition 3D graphics. Small businesses across a range of sectors are already benefiting from the advanced technology.
One of these is Calon Cardio-Technologies Ltd, a firm committed to developing the next generation of affordable, implantable micro blood pumps for the treatment of chronic heart failure.
Simulating the flow of blood inside the device on a standard desktop computer took Calon up to a week for each individual simulation. When supercomputing technology was used, the time taken to run the same simulation was reduced to a few hours. With access to this kind of power, the firm can analyse results at an unprecedented speed, making the design process much more efficient, and enabling the product to get to market much quicker.
Another firm to benefit from the use of the supercomputers in the UK is iCreate, a company in the creative industries. The firm specialises in producing architectural visualisations in the property sector, allowing customers to view and examine 3D developments before they are built. The company works globally with major brands such as US chemical corporation Dow, and leading Australian fuel supplier, Caltex.
Supercomputing technology has enabled iCreate to improve levels of detail within their animations and to significantly reduce the time spent rendering them. This increased quality, alongside faster production speeds, allows the company to compete more effectively in a global market, taking on larger and more ambitious projects and providing services to more customers than previously possible.
What could a supercomputing provider do for you?
Supercomputing providers can offer you remote access to additional computing resource to complete data-intensive tasks at speeds never previously possible, considerably increasing your potential output, and saving the cost of investing in new hardware and software.
Irrespective of the size of your business, don’t assume that your company couldn’t afford or benefit from access to supercomputing technology, training and support. There are many more examples of applications not already mentioned above and funding opportunities in place for those wishing to harness the technology..
Increasingly, supercomputing providers across the UK are expanding the amount of training and support available in recognition of the fact that many businesses have no experience of using this technology. The right training and support can make all the difference in helping you realise the potential of supercomputing technology to super-power your business’ growth.