I had a really great time at SuperComputing09. I meet a lot of really great people doing the same kind of research that I am interested in. It really made me miss the research aspects of my last job.
I say a miss the research aspects, but I don’t miss the tight deadlines, and stress level of the job. I am definitely enjoying the flexibility and low stress of my current position.
Probably the most interesting thing to me about the conference was that having been out of the research angle for two years, it seems that nothing has really changed in the HPC industry. There are a few new products and a few new tools for the programmer, but overall the industry seems at a standstill.
There have been vast improvements in the speed and durability of the hardware, and a few improvements in UI design over the past two years, but as for great changes in technology, there appears to be nothing new on the horizon, which is disappointing at best.
It seems that the computer industry has taken the same bad turn that the auto industry took 60-70 years ago. Just like the suto industry put their focus on the internal combustion engine and hasn’t deviated from it, the computer industry is now focused on two main architectures, the Intel or AMD core processors, and the Nvidia or ATI graphics processors. I group them together because thought they are slightly different in design, they follow the same basic principles of design just like the Internal combustion engines, there is not much difference in design any more when it comes to computer hardware.
I hope that some innovative company will try something unique in the years to come like Motorola’s distributed clock architecture that vanished as MacOS moved to Intel.