SDSC Partners With Small Businesses

UCSD’s Supercomputer Center will provide data management to local companies via the cloud

The UCSD San Diego Supercomputer Center created the Industry Partners Program last week, a collaboration between the center’s researchers and small businesses. The high-performance computers, or “supercomputers,” offered by the SDSC are used by several tech-based companies in the San Diego area.

Built primarily for academic researchers, the SDSC rents out space on its large cluster computing systems to local businesses, which use the computing power for activities such as managing data and running simulations. According to the announcement, SDSC provides quarterly workshops, private meetings with researchers and an annual review of recent research projects to members of the Industrial Partners Program. The center charges member companies between $10,000 and $25,000 each year for these services. The pilot program held its first annual research review on June 12 of this year.

The Supercomputer Center’s resources are used largely by manufacturers, who create intricate simulations to test designs for their products. For instance Hunter Industries, a manufacturer of water-efficient irrigation products, has used the SDSC’s computers to update its line of sprinklers; the high-performance computers allow the company to simulate the movement of water through the sprinklers, aiding in the creation of a prototype.

Hunter Vice President of Marketing Gene Smith explained that his company would rely more on high-performance computers in the future.

“HPC [high-performance computing] will certainly be a valuable tool for us going forward as we increase our reliance on CFD [computational fluid dynamics] simulation to reduce costs and time associated with prototyping and design,” Smith said in a UCSD News Center press release.

The services SDSC currently offers to small and medium-sized businesses have been made possible by the advent of cloud computing, which allows the Supercomputer Center to offer computing power on demand over the Internet. Traditionally, high-performance computers have only been accessible to large corporations, mainly in the automotive and aerospace industries, which have the resources to buy and maintain their own supercomputer units.

SDSC’s Director of Industry Relations Ron Hawkins appreciates the research collaborations the Supercomputer Center has fostered with small businesses in the San Diego area.

“While designing and operating leading-edge HPC systems for academic researchers is SDSC’s core mission, high-tech businesses have realized the benefits of leveraging the center’s services and expertise for their own needs,” Hawkins said in a press release. “In addition to having a potential impact on the local economy and the competitiveness of U.S.-based companies, we appreciate the interactions and potential for developing deeper research collaborations with our industrial HPC users.”

The Supercomputer Center is offering an eight-part webinar series for IPP members in the upcoming months; the first, entitled “Demystifying the Data Scientist,” will be held on Dec. 5.