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Feds, partners discuss using high-performance computing to solve big problems


The device on which you’re reading this blog is much more powerful than the most powerful computers 40 years ago. But your laptop or desktop today pales in comparison to the federal government’s high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities, which use supercomputers and computer clusters to solve advanced computation problems in science, engineering, business, and beyond.

HPC-related efforts were the focus of a virtual one-day summit on April 20, co-hosted by GSA in collaboration with the CIO Council and the Information Technology Industry Council. 

Speakers including industry representatives, academics, and senior government leaders explored success stories, suggested policy changes, and shared major possibilities for innovation between the federal government and industry partners. Discussions included:

  • Optimizing energy production processes and improving the safety and efficiency of nuclear power plants;
  • Modeling and simulating climate patterns and weather forecasts, helping scientists and meteorologists better understand and predict hurricanes, tornadoes, and extreme weather events;
  • Accelerating the development and testing of emerging technologies, such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles, by providing the computational power needed for complex simulations and data analysis;
  • Advancing military and defense simulations for weapon systems, cryptography, and cybersecurity, as well as analyzing large scale data for intelligence gathering and decision-making; and
  • Facilitating cutting-edge research in medical science, such as drug discovery, personalized medicine, and genomics, by enabling large-scale data analysis, simulation of biological processes, and virtual clinical trials to accelerate the development of new treatments and therapies.

Dan Pomeroy, GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) Deputy Associate Administrator in the Office of Technology Policy, remotely welcomed more than 400 attendees and reaffirmed OGP’s strategic direction to ensure government-wide policies encourage agencies to develop and use the best, most cost-effective management practices.

Pomeroy shared his excitement “to learn from everyone about how our federal organizations and industry partners are utilizing and benefiting from high-performance computing.” Noting that, “our summit for today is designed to facilitate discussions between industry representatives and senior government leaders to discuss salient HPC issues and trends moving forward.”

The summit also hosted tech talks, Q&A sessions, and a case study to further dive into high-performance computing.

Additional highlights:

  • Jim Connaughton, Chairperson of the Board at Nautilus Data Technologies, discussed the complexity of security and sustainability with the development and further innovation of high-performance computing, sharing the many environmental, social, and geopolitical implications that exist. 
  • Hans Addleman, SC23 SCinet Chair, shared more about SCinet, a global collaboration of high-performance networking experts who provide a platform that connects attendees and exhibitors to the world. 
  • Janice Gordan, Advanced Research Computing Team Lead at U.S. Geological Survey, and Jeff Falgout, Development Computer Scientist at U.S. Geological Survey, presented on how making HPC accessible for all their scientists—from the office to the field—allows the U.S. Geological Survey to accomplish its goals, such as determining how too much or too little water can impact communities and environments.
  • Industry leaders from Microsoft and Google also participated, sharing how HPC is utilized in cloud, data centers, infrastructure, and more. 
Last Reviewed: 2023-05-05