SUPERCOMPUTING FOR SOCIETAL IMPACT

Student in the lab

How will supercomputing make the average person's healthcare costs decrease? These powerful computers provide scientists the processing speeds needed for drug modeling and simulation to develop better medications faster. The shortened development phase means drug companies spend less money, and the cost of the medication decreases. Because the drugs are also more targeted to specific symptoms and produce fewer side effects, pricey doctor's office visits potentially decrease.

How will supercomputing make our country safer? Airport security cameras capture enormous amounts of information about the passengers who pass through: height, face shape, and walking cadence. With hundreds of cameras in thousands of airports, it would be impossible for humans or even fast, conventional computers to analyze all that data to recognize or predict suspicious behavior. Supercomputers provide our nation's defense and security industries the ability to rapidly sort and analyze massive amounts of this data, which allows them to react faster to dangerous situations before they escalate into something potentially tragic.

These uses of supercomputers rely on basic advances in computer science to improve computing performance, ranging from hardware research on multicore systems or high-end graphics to programming methods for high performance machines and to ways of ensuring that their tens of thousands of processors run reliably for extended periods of time. Supercomputing, therefore, is one of the strong "drivers" of computer science, pushing ahead innovation and advances in science and engineering that affect both academic research and daily life.

At Georgia Tech, high performance computing makes its impact felt through new computing capabilities brought to end-users and through applications. Researchers across the high performance computing spectrum study the possible impacts on our everyday lives, including:

Curing diseases
medical researchs Advances in protein folding are at the heart of systems biology, but effective protein-fold modeling requires massive computational resources—a peptide of just five amino acids could yield up to 100 billion different configurations.
Earth Sciences
model of the earth Earth sciences span planetary mechanisms from climate and weather prediction to hydrology, mantle convection, and computational seismology. As computational modeling becomes increasingly sophisticated, prediction of major events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis becomes more accurate, possibly resulting in thousands of lives saved.
Nanomaterials
nanoscale models When designed and studied with supercomputers, these materials have begun to revolutionize both the goods the United States produces and the way they are manufactured, which strengthens the nation's global economic position.
Fusion-modeling
fusion models This kind of research could result in reactors that can produce boundless amounts of energy. In the long term, this could mean U.S. energy independence; in the shorter term, reservoir modeling helps us efficiently extract oil and gas already tapped by existing wells.
Airplane safety
advanced aircraft machinery Use of novel microprocessor technology can expeditiously and accurately monitor structural components in flight by measuring and recording an aircraft's vibrations through a distributed network of sensors allowing better prediction of airline mechanical failures.