Congratulations to Jim Ganthier, Dell’s vice president and general manager of Cloud, HPC and Engineered Solutions, who was recently selected by HPCWire as a “2016 Person to Watch.” In an interview as part of this recognition, Jim offered his insights, perspective and vision on the role of HPC, seeing it as a critical segment of focus driving Dell’s business. He also discussed initiatives Dell is employing to inspire greater adoption through innovation, as HPC becomes more mainstream.

There has been a shift in the industry, with newfound appreciation of advanced-scale computing as a strategic business advantage. As it expands, organizations and enterprises of all sizes are becoming more aware of HPC’s value to increase economic competitiveness and drive market growth. However, Jim believes greater availability of HPC is still needed for the full benefits to be realized across all industries and verticals.

As such, one of Dell’s goals for 2016 is to help more people in more industries to use HPC by offering more innovative products and discoveries than any other vendor. This includes developing domain-specific HPC solutions, extending HPC-optimized and enabled platforms, and enabling a broader base of HPC customers to deploy, manage and support HPC solutions. Further, Dell is investing in vertical expertise by bringing on HPC experts in specific areas including life sciences, manufacturing and oil and gas.

Dell is also offering its own brand muscle to draw more attention to HPC at the C-suite level, and will thus accelerate mainstream adoption - this includes leveraging the company’s leading IT portfolio, services and expertise. Most importantly, the company is championing the democratization of HPC, meaning minimizing complexities and mitigating risk associated with traditional HPC while making data more accessible to an organization’s users.

Here are a few of the trends Jim sees powering adoption for the year ahead:

  • HPC is evolving beyond the stereotype of being solely targeted for government and academia, deeply technical, audiences and is now making a move toward the mainstream. Commercial 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 just about straight number crunching, but now includes development of actionable insights by extending HPC capabilities to Big Data analytics, creating value for new markets and increasing adoption.
  • This trend towards the mainstream does come with its challenges, however, including issues with complexity, standardization and interoperability among different vendors. That said, by joining forces with Intel and others to form the OpenHPC Collaborative Project in November 2015, Dell is helping to deliver a stable environment for its 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. OpenHPC levels the playing field, providing better control, insight and long-term value as HPC gains traction in new markets.

A great example of HPC outside the world of government and academic research is aircraft and automotive design. HPC has long been used for structural mechanics and aerodynamics of vehicles, but now that the electronics content of aircraft and automobiles is increasing dramatically, HPC techniques are now being used to prevent electromagnetic interference from impacting performance of those electronics. At the same time, HPC has enabled vehicles to be lighter, safer and fuel efficient than ever before. Other examples of HPC applications include everything from oil exploration to personalized medicine, from weather forecasting to the creation of animated movies, and from predicting the stock market to assuring homeland security. HPC is also being used by the likes of FINRA to help detect and deter fraud, as well as helping stimulate emerging markets by enabling growth of analytics applied to big data.

Again, our sincerest congratulations to Jim Ganthier! To read the full Q&A, visit