For me, what makes the PBS Works User Group fun is the really great group of people that come together across a broad spectrum of the HPC community. I thought this was an excellent forum in which to get real insights from the real community. So, this year, we closed the event with a general customer feedback session, during which, I asked: Where is HPC headed in the next 5 Years?
In short, there was consensus in 5 areas — from the real experts:
1. Most end users will not be supercomputing savvy: the number of end users will double in the next 5 years, but most of the new users will be new to HPC and even new to Linux (e.g., when you mention MPI or ssh, they won’t know what you’re talking about).
2. Capacity will triple and power constraints will drive GPU adoption: more cores, more memory, more bandwidth, …, and a lot more systems will have 1 or 2 or 3 GPUs due to power constraints.
3. Big organizations will consolidate HPC centers, making clusters bigger and driving adoption of remote visualization: multiple organizations have plans to consolidate HPC sites spread around the world into a handful of larger sites, also merging smaller clusters into larger clusters. Six of the larger organizations said this means they will heavily depend on Remote Visualization.
4. Microsoft Windows use will increase in HPC, entirely driven by software: among the larger organizations who must support a wide variety of ISV applications, Microsoft Windows support is required, as certain ISV applications only work on Windows
5. Adoption of public clouds for HPC is still an open question: despite “expert” pronouncements that public HPC clouds are the future (and I would sheepishly include myself in this category), the general consensus of the actual HPC community is that, even 5 years from now, less than 10% of HPC cycles will be delivered via public clouds.
I was both surprised and gratified that 4 out of the 5 predictions were nicely lined up with the vision we have been pursuing at Altair for HPC. As for the 5th, we are investing in public HPC Clouds too :-). If you are attending the SC13 conference in Denver, CO later this month (sc13.supercomputing.org), please stop by the Altair booth and say “Hi” — you can also get a demo of how Altair is addressing the future of HPC.