Dell is honored to be last night’s recipient of HPCwire’s Editor’s Choice Award—Best use of High Performance Computing (HPC) in Automotive. This award is in recognition of our work with the Caterham F1 Team, a team that will be racing this very weekend in the first-ever Formula 1 (F1) race in Dell’s backyard, Austin, TX.  This award and what the Caterham team has been able to accomplish is a true testament to the power of data.

Politics aside, one thing was very clear in last week’s presidential election:  data rules.  A CNN behind-the-scenes article shared that the Obama analytics team used computer simulations to run the election 66,000 times every night.  The insights gathered helped allocate resources, inform marketing strategies and ultimately played a significant role in the President’s campaign.    “In politics,” the article concluded, “the era of big data has arrived.”

Maybe it’s new to the world of politics, but in the world of F1, big data arrived a few years ago. Virtually all of the teams in F1 have supercomputers and teams of data ‘geeks’ to test hundreds of design ideas virtually and select only those that perform well for physical testing.  The cars are covered in sensors with over 20GB of data generated every weekend.  Mike Gascoyne, CTO for the Caterham F1 Team, shares “0.1 of a second can be the difference between winning and losing in Formula 1.  Data analysis doesn’t get much more critical than that.”

The Caterham Team is equipped with a HPC solution that performs 163,398 calculations per second, uses Dell Alienware Area-51 desktops to support the work and continues to collaborate with Dell and Intel to gain greater processing speed without increasing its IT infrastructure’s physical footprint.  Bill Peters, Head of IT for Caterham says: “We needed the maximum amount of processing power in the minimum amount of space – and we needed it quickly. The Intel Cluster Ready HPC that Dell recommended is ideal for us because it offers the right performance at the right price.  This cluster is critical to the success of the team. It works 24/7 simulating aerodynamics and helps us design the cars. It gives us our competitive edge.”

 Presidential elections and Formula 1 races are high stakes competitions where the winner truly takes all.  At Dell, however, we are seeing growing interest from our manufacturing customers to understand how Big Data can be used to create insights that lead to faster, more targeted product development, solve manufacturing quality issues, or identify new market opportunities.   We at Dell would love to bring in some of our data geeks to help you go faster, be smarter and win your race in the market.  Learn more about our HPC solutions for manufacturers here.