Feeds

Supercomputing in retail?

What are they getting out of it?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

I got a call recently from a reporter who confronted me with an interesting question. He had attended SC04 in Pittsburgh, and one of his key takeaways from the show was that retailing was on the cusp of adopting HPC-style computing to crunch their data in order to improve both top-line and bottom-line results. He asked me: “Has HPC made it into retailing?” and followed up with “If not, why not?” and “If so, what are they getting out of it?”

His questions launched me into my whole “Age of Analytics” speech, where I lay out the macroeconomic forces that will fuel a big move toward predictive analytics in not only retailing, but in almost every industry. Globalization and the associated increase in competitive pressures (lower margins, reduced barriers to entry, global sourcing, increased buyer power, etc.) will require businesses to use every asset at their disposal to defend their existing markets and discover profitable new opportunities.

One of the most underutilized assets in business today is the massive piles of data that we’ve gathered and stored. Combining that data with other datasets can provide incredibly valuable market and trend insights. The resulting workloads are essentially the same as traditional HPC workloads in terms of computational requirements. Some companies, including retailers like Walmart, are already doing this in a big way, while others are just beginning to dip their toes into it.

I’ll be writing more about this trend from both business and technical perspectives in the future, but for a preview – and a good overview of the topic – read this article: “Second look at HPC: Is retail ready for supercomputing?

Is your company looking at adopting predictive analytics? Or are you doing it already? Let us know in the comments section below…

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?