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October 21, 2010

House of the Rising Technology: Disruptive Innovations at SC10

Steve Campbell

This year’s Supercomputing Conference, which is already sold out, is set to mark another series of big wins for the high-performance computing industry.

In these turbulent times it will be good to see the vendors who have remained committed to this market, and to say farewell to others, including Sun Microsystems. It will also be a time to welcome new companies into the fold who are bringing new products to the HPC sphere, such as Virident Systems, Hardcore Computing and others.

I have had the good fortune of being able to attend some 20+ supercomputing conferences, but for the majority of them, I’ve been on the vendor side of the booth. Perhaps because of this, or just because I didn’t realize the significance before, I somehow never really noticed a very important part of the proceedings—the Disruptive Technologies event. 

At SC10, Disruptive Technologies will examine new computing architectures and interfaces that will significantly impact the high-performance computing field over the next five to 15 years, even if they have yet to emerge in current systems. What this event will provide, however, is invaluable; a glimpse into the future of high-performance computing.

The term disruptive technologies was coined by Clayton M. Christensen and introduced in his 1995 article Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave, which he co-wrote with Joseph Bower.  A disruptive innovation, by the way, is an innovation that disrupts an existing market.  The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by lowering price or designing for a different set of consumers.

For the first time, the Disruptive Technologies event will be part of the main exhibit floor, located in the 1038 to 1054 space. Also, it’s worth noting that there are twelve vendors this year, another first.  Each vendor will have the same amount of space and very similar look and feel as each other.  During exhibit hours Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday they will each have the opportunity to deliver a 30 min presentation with 15 min for Q&A in the presentation area, booth 1038.

Take some time form your schedules and check out all these vendors.

SC10 Disruptive Technologies Participants

Ateji: A language technology makes HPC accessible to all applications developers, 

Brocade: Virtual cluster switching revolutionizes Layer 2 Ethernet,

Cloud Era Ltd.: Elastic-R, a ubiquitous Google-Docs-like environment for scientific computing in the Cloud

Convey Computer: – Application specific computing: navigating an inflection point in HPC system architectures, 

Cray, Inc.: Advanced data analytics on the Cray XMT

Green Revolution Cooling: Fluid submersion cooling for HPC

Luxtera: Silicon photonics: displaces current solutions to support 100Gbps

MBA Sciences, Inc.: SPM.Python: scalable, parallel version of the Python language

MIT and Bentley University: Solar-powered supercomputing

SGI: Essential technology for productivity at exascale

Virident: Novel Flash memory card system ensuring sustainable high performance and high capacity,

VMware Inc., System Research Team (SRT) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ohio State University, UnivaUD, Inc., and Deopli, Inc. – Virtualization for HPC

Complete details can be found on line at