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July 26, 2011

Russian President Hails HPC

Nicole Hemsoth

Dmitry Medvedev is the first Russian president to emphasize the power of supercomputing for increasing national competitiveness. A couple of years ago, he famously stated that in Russia, “a huge number of entrepreneurs, not to mention officials, do not know what supercomputers are.”

In an effort to understand the possibilities for Russia as it enters a technological enlightenment, Medvedev toured Silicon Valley, stopping off for visits at Google, Twitter, Apple and Cisco. He rounded out his excursion with a lecture at Stanford University where he discussed the competitive value of technologies and how Russia needed to find a way to keep pace with cutting-edge IT and HPC research and technology.

Not long ago, the Russian president visited Moscow State University to see the masterwork of one of Russia’s few HPC-oriented companies, T-Platforms. Specifically, Medvedev looked at T-Platforms’ system at the university that stole the number 13 spot on the list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

T-Platforms could represent a new era in Russian research and high performance computing development. The company has been making a great deal of international news with its placement on the Top500 and recent third-place ranking on the Graph500, which evaluates the ability for computers to execute data-intensive graph operations.

IDC HPC industry analyst, Steve Conway remarked on signs of Russia’s mounting interest in high performance computing, noting that beyond hardware, the country faces some software challenges. He told ComputerWorld:

“HPC leadership is going to be determined going forward much more by software advances than by hardware advances — the hardware has already raced way out of the ability of software to exploit it.”

Conway went on to note that when it comes to writing software, “all of Eastern Europe has some advantage, because all through the time they were under communism they had very poor hardware, so they had to write software that would practically make a washing machine compute.”

Full story at ComputerWorld