Want a supercomputer? You may already have one on your desktop

More and more, your desktop can do what a supercomputer does -- and more possibilities will unfold in the next decade

The desktop is already being used for weather simulations at some local TV stations. In the future, as processor technology advances even further, we could all run detailed personal weather forecasts on our PCs. Magro says desktop computers could be used by individuals to see models for their immediate area, or to forecast weather for vacations six months into the future, for example, based on the conditions they are experiencing and have entered into the model.

More apps likely to follow
David Bader, the executive director of high-performance computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, envisions several additional uses for HPC on the desktop in the next 10 years.

There are possibilities for discovering new trends among social networks or identifying their key influencers. Recommendations could be made for improving the energy efficiency of behaviors such as traffic routing to avoid congestion, scheduling computer applications to minimize energy usage, and monitoring a smart power grid, Bader says.

Other possibilities include the construction of 3D scenes from massive collections of public photographs and live transcriptions of teleconferences with speaker IDs.

Although experts agree that the largest supercomputers will be around for some time to come, it will be interesting to see what other traditional HPC applications will eventually come to reside on the desktop.

John Brandon is a veteran of the computing industry, having worked as an IT manager for 10 years and as a tech journalist for another 10. He has written more than 2,500 feature articles and is a regular contributor to Computerworld.

This story, "Want a supercomputer? You may already have one on your desktop" was originally published by Computerworld.

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