Towards actionable intelligence

Think Progress Team

Monday 30 November 2015

Today, businesses are presented with unprecedented opportunity to innovate new and better products and services for their markets, make step-changes in business efficiency and achieve new levels of knowledge about their customers’ behaviours, needs and buying patterns – whether those customers are consumers, businesses, or both.

The challenge is to convert these opportunities into tangible business insights, product innovations and new efficiencies. Achieving these goals however calls for going to a new level of computational power and data handling.

That level is High Performance Computing (HPC).

According to a three year global study by IDC, businesses turning to HPC are achieving unparalleled ROI on their investments. The average for every dollar spent on HPC is $514 ROI in revenue, and over $40 benefit to the bottom line.

And the rate of return is increasing. Revenue ROI from HPC has grown by 44 per cent in the last two years, and bottom line benefit has improved by over 10 per cent.

In some markets, HPC has achieved far higher returns. Studies have found that in some financial institutions, HPC has delivered returns of up to $11,000 revenue per dollar invested. If the ROI of these financial institutes were included in the averages for all businesses, the average revenue ROI would be over $750 per dollar invested.

Designed from the ground up for performance

Unlike conventional computing platforms, HPC systems are designed from the outset for extremely complex computing and massive data handling. HPC rack configurations, memory, and wiring are all designed for very rapid Big Data handling and very intensive algorithm processing.

As a result, HPC solutions are able to help innovate new product designs and bring these to market very rapidly.

It can carry out deep analyses of business operations, pinpointing inefficiencies and finding scope for both savings and smarter, faster ways of delivering business services.

Using high performance computing, financial institutions – like Fixnetix – are able to achieve complex financial modelling and quantitative analysis, as well as securely executing huge volumes of financial transactions while carrying out real-time fraud detection. This is especially crucial considering the ever-changing and complex regulatory requirements, as well as market dynamics, that financial institutions need to adhere to.

HPC can also be used to analyse complex business networks, detecting potential cyber vulnerabilities and looking for traces of targeted attacks. HPC can be used not only to detect ongoing attacks, but model the course of likely future attacks. It has helped top military research establishments in the United States redesign their networks and IT systems to  continue uninterrupted even in the face of a major cyber attack.

High Speed, Sophisticated Big Data Analytics

HPC can handle Big Data volumes and carry out sophisticated analysis at a speed unparalleled by any other platform; Big Data analysis that might take hours on conventional platforms can be executed in minutes or even seconds while using HPC-based solutions.

HPC can also carry out highly sophisticated business and customer analysis that is — in practical terms — almost impossible on any other platform. Gaining deep insights into market influences and buying patterns by analysing multiple datasets drawn from transactional data, social media and web sources can be done rapidly and efficiently on HPC platforms, but can run into major processing and memory limitations on conventional computing platforms.

HPC can also make analysts and programmers far more productive.

Languages such as Python, MATLAB, SAS and R provide vital tools for both data science and advanced data analysis. But on conventional computing platforms, they can suffer memory and processing issues, effectively limiting the scale of what they analyse.

With HPC, these memory and processor constraints are removed. Moreover, HPC platforms can run versions of Python, MATLAB, SAS and R that take full advantage of all the power and data handling capabilities of the high performance platform, allowing data scientists and analysts to concentrate their energy and efforts on understanding their target data.

Unlike other business computing platforms, HPC systems also makes possible interactive querying of big, complex and very mixed data sets. That means that analysts and executives don’t have to wait hours between queries, but can explore the data interactively, seeing in seconds what approach might be most useful for their business aims.

​Innovating new levels of performance

At Lenovo, we incorporate a legacy in high performance computing that goes back to the first x86 based high performance computers.

Today, that tradition is represented by industry leading HPC systems, a commitment to constant, in-house technology development and product innovation. As a company, we have deep knowledge of technology integration and manufacturing across the whole technology value chain, from semiconductor production through to system integration — all of which is performed in-house. That knowledge enables Lenovo to achieve new levels of performance in HPC space.

Our tradition also embodies teams of experts with experience of implementing some of the largest HPC installations in the world.

Many of the largest systems in the TOP500 list of leading HPC sites worldwide are powered by Lenovo systems. These include the SuperMUC and SuperMUC Phase 2 installations at the Leibniz Computing Centre in Germany, an installation at the Max-Planck-Society Computing and Data Facility in Munich, and the Alibaba Group, China.

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