What Do Madagascar Penguins and HPC Have in Common?
If you want to explain the many uses of high performance computing (HPC) to your less computer literate friends, you might try enlisting the help of a penguin.
Not just any penguin will do. What you need is a small band of cute but edgy penguins from DreamWorks Animation, stars of the wildly popular kid's program, The Penguins of Madagascar, airing on Nickelodeon.
Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico have been enlisted by the Council on Competitiveness in a video designed to spread the word that HPC is an essential technology, impacting every aspect of our lives and economy in ways that are almost beyond imagining.
As the video's rather earnest announcer intones early on, "From sophisticated weapons systems to homeland security, to basic research across the sciences, high performance computing takes us to the frontiers of knowledge."
But in the next sentence, the Council's point of view comes through loud and clear: "HPC also enables groundbreaking innovation that creates high wage jobs and keeps America competitive in the 21st Century."
As you might expect, given DreamWorks' involvement, the video is rich in animation — penguins dancing up and down on keyboards and giving each other high fives. But the Council has also supplied a treasure trove of images depicting simulations that range from charting the course of a hurricane and peering inside the brain of a patient afflicted with Alzheimer's to those famous Pringles potato chips that were aerodynamically redesigned using HPC to stop flying off the manufacturing line.
Naturally DreamWorks' use of HPC for their animated films is well represented. The company is no stranger to HPC. Not only do they have their own high-powered rendering HPC clusters, but they have also used a grant of time on that most super of supercomputers, Jaguar at Oak Ridge National Labs, to perfect their rendering software. The results of that effort figured heavily in the production of the computer-generated film, Kung Fu Panda.
The video is short, only a little over eight minutes, and well worth looking at with its trippy animation and wealth of graphics. And given the current economy and the job situation, it's a little bit of entertaining propaganda that you might want to share with your friends, family and local congressional representative.
Posted by John Kirkley - September 13, 2011 @ 9:00 PM, Pacific Daylight Time
John Kirkley, Editor, Digital Manufacturing Report
John Kirkley has been active in the computer, networking and telecommunications industries for more than 45 years. He has held positions in magazine editing, corporate communications, public relations and advertising. Most recently he has been concentrating his efforts on the fields of digital manufacturing, modeling and simulation, in addition to staying current on the high performance and cloud computing industries.
Prior to joining Tabor Communications Inc. as the editor of the Digital Manufacturing Report, Kirkley was president of Kirkley Communications, a marketing communications firm providing high tech writing, editing and podcast services.
He was the editor of Datamation magazine, one of the most successful and respected computer industry publications. In addition to managing a large publication staff, Kirkley is known for his work with an Advisory Board consisting of a dozen of the top people in the computer industry.
Kirkley also founded Computer magazine, the journal of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Computer Society, acting as its editor and publisher, and managing the Society's publications office. Today, Computer remains the Computer Society's flagship publication. Kirkley has also been honored as one of the Society's Golden Core Members.
In addition to his conference and writing activities, Kirkley acted as a senior consultant to Manning, Selvage and Lee, one of the world's top ten public relations firms.
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