Thanks to Tom Jones for pointing out this story in the Financial Times on the increasing attention paid to supercomputing in the wake of the Japanese Earth Simulator’s 2 year reign at the top of the Top500.
Here’s a bit:
Hard drive by lobbyists helps US take supercomputer lead
By Simon London
An almost audible sigh of relief arose from Washington last week as Blue Gene/L, a computer built by International Business Machines, claimed the title of the world’s fastest supercomputer. Science and technology policymakers have spent the past two years fretting that the US was losing its lead in high-performance computing, with potentially serious implications for national competitiveness.
“We believe that to out-compete, we must out-compute,” said Deborah Wince-Smith, president of the Council on Competitiveness, one of many lobby groups pressing federal agencies to spend more on supercomputer research.
The lobbying campaign was sparked by the success of the Earth Simulator, a supercomputer built to model climate change by NEC, the Japanese electronics group. When full details of the Earth Simulator’s performance emerged in early 2002 it was clear that Japan had not only overtaken the US in terms of raw computing speed but done so by a metaphorical mile.