VP & GM of Engineered Solutions and Cloud
HPCwire: Hi Jim. Congratulations on being selected as an HPCwire 2016 Person to Watch. Throughout its tenure as a leader in the HPC industry, Dell has been known for its strong position in terms of being enterprise-facing. While advanced-scale computing is increasingly recognized as a strategic business advantage, how will you emphasize HPC as a critical segment of focus and drive Dell’s business when all the company’s outbound messaging is currently narrowed in on the enterprise?
Jim Ganthier: HPC itself is currently undergoing an enterprise expansion as organizations are looking to the technology for innovation among a variety of industries. The same innovations and advantages that HPC delivers to traditional fields like government and academic research projects can also be applied to vertical markets such as manufacturing, life sciences, oil & gas and financial services to increase economic competitiveness and drive market growth for enterprises of all sizes. However, there needs to be more awareness of HPC in these industries and segments for its benefits to be realized. For example, while there are approximately 285,000 manufacturers in the U.S. that are categorized as small or medium businesses (SMBs), 94% of these SMBs have yet to start using HPC (Source: National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Digital Manufacturing Initiative (www.ncms.org).
Dell recognizes the need for education and support of HPC in growing vertical segments as well as the associated market and innovation opportunity. Dell has added HPC experts to focus on distinct areas including manufacturing, life sciences and oil & gas to fill that gap, in addition, we’ve added lab and customer facing infrastructure investments. Dell’s longstanding leadership in enterprise technology compliments the evolving HPC landscape, helping to draw more attention to HPC at the C-suite level and will thus accelerate mainstream adoption.
HPCwire: What are Dell’s leading goals for 2016 with regard to HPC?
Our primary goal for HPC going into 2016 is to leverage Dell’s leading IT portfolio, services and expertise to help more people in more industries to use HPC to make more innovative products and discoveries than any other vendor. We have identified three focus areas that map to this goal:
- Develop domain-specific HPC solutions that remove complexity and reduce risk from HPC deployments.
- Extend Dell’s portfolio of HPC-optimized and –enabled platforms to deliver a range of efficient HPC compute and storage performance that is backed by the latest Dell and partner technologies.
- Enable broader base of HPC customers – from leading supercomputer centers to mainstream enterprises – to deploy, manage and support HPC solutions from the desktop to petaflops.
To dive more deeply into Dell’s HPC strategy, one of the core tenets of our larger HPC mission is to champion the democratization of HPC. By minimizing complexities and mitigating risk associated with traditional HPC while making data more accessible to a company’s users, we can inspire greater adoption by a more broad and diverse base of customers.
As opportunities for HPC expand into new territory, Dell presently and will continue to provide our customers in the public and private sector the foundation for HPC insight and innovation.
HPCwire: What trends in high performance computing do you see as particularly relevant as you look forward to the year ahead?
HPC is evolving beyond the stereotype of being solely targeted for science and deeply technical audiences and is now making a move toward the mainstream. Vertical companies within the manufacturing and financial services industries, for example, require high-powered computational ability to stay competitive and drive change for their customers.
The science behind HPC is no longer about straight number crunching, but now includes prediction and the development of actionable insights, creating value for new markets and increasing adoption.
This trend towards the mainstream does come with its challenges, including issues with complexity, standardization and interoperability among different vendors. However, by joining forces with Intel and other to form the OpenHPC Collaborative Project in November 2015, Dell is helping to deliver a stable environment for HPC customers. The OpenHPC Collaborative Project aims to enable all vendors to have a consistent, open source software stack, standard testing and validation methods, the ability to use heterogeneous components together and the capacity to reduce costs. We believe that by leveling the playing field with OpenHPC, Dell plays a role in providing better control, insight and long-term value as HPC gains traction in new markets.
HPCwire: Outside of the professional sphere, what can you tell us about yourself – personal life, family, background, hobbies, etc.?
I’m happily married and have two great sons, who are also in the high tech field. Hobbies (when I find time) include tennis, golf, boating and woodworking.
HPCwire: Final question: What can you share about yourself that you think your colleagues would be surprised to learn?
Let’s see….I’m multilingual. I’ve been issued several patents. Most people know my enterprise accomplishments, but I started in and learned much from the consumer side of our industry. I love being and leading in the fast pace high tech industry but, during downtime, I like to use my head and hands on less high tech activities ranging from restoring antiques to building furniture and restoring and reselling homes.
Women in HPC
|Dr. Yutong Lu
|William “Tim” Polk