HPC’s impact on automotive sector growing

HPC’s impact on automotive sector growing

on Aug 21, 15 • by Bill Burns • with No Comments

Car manufacturers are increasingly turning to HPC tools in order to develop more advanced vehicles...

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The utility – and value – of high performance computing solutions is increasing rapidly. This technology was once relegated solely to the most advanced scientific research, but it is now used by companies in a wide range of industries, not to mention schools, governments and other nonprofit organizations. 

The automotive sector is no exception. Car manufacturers are increasingly turning to HPC tools in order to develop more advanced vehicles. For these and other HPC-related endeavors to pay off, it's imperative for companies to invest in high-quality HPC-specif​ic debuggers, such as TotalView. 

Green HPC for BMW
One example of HPC's growing influence in the automotive industry can be found in Iceland, where BMW has established an HPC data center. The location is noteworthy, as BMW is based in Munich, Germany, several thousands of miles away from this Icelandic base, according to Scientific Computing. Speaking at the High-Performance Computing and Big Data Congress, Jorge Balcells, director of technical services for Verne Global, explained that there is a good reason behind BMW's decision: The auto manufacturer has reduced its energy costs by more than 80 percent, saving a tremendous amount of carbon in the process.

Moving BMW's HPC center to Iceland improved energy efficiency.Moving BMW's HPC center to Iceland improved energy efficiency.

These savings were thanks to the natural cooling that Iceland's environment provides. This minimizes the company's energy requirements and its attendant costs, the source explained. 

This allows BMW to focus more on the potential benefits that HPC technology can offer, without worrying about one of the biggest expenses typically associated with these resources. Notably, BMW conducted the necessary simulations and design work for its new i8 hybrid sports car at its Iceland-based HPC center.

Moving ahead with HPC
Going further, the growing role that HPC plays in the automotive sector was a key topic of discussion at the ISC High Performance Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Dr. Jurgen Kohler from Daimler Mercedes-Benz delivered the opening keynote, focusing on how his company has utilized HPC tools to maximize the efficiency of its automotive development. 

"There is no way to remain competitive without taking advantage of HPC tools."

Specifically, Kohler discussed how HPC solutions, along with rapid numerical algorithms, are essential for achieving high turnaround times on day-to-day development work. By this point, there is simply no way for a car company to remain competitive unless it takes full advantage of the HPC tools available on the market. Companies need to conduct extremely sophisticated, advanced simulations, modeling projects and a wide range of other computing work that is only possible with the use of HPC. 

A separate Scientific Computing report noted that Mercedes-Benz has utilized digital prototyping for at least a decade. The functional requirements inherent to these approaches are becoming more and more demanding. Locally based HPC solutions allow Mercedes-Benz and other car companies to continue to leverage these strategies without delays or other inefficiencies.

Making HPC work
As BMW, Mercedes-Benz and numerous other car companies have discovered, HPC solutions are quickly evolving from a competitive edge to a basic need for organizations in this industry. The automotive sector is crowded and the pressure to develop more advanced vehicles at affordable prices can be intense. 

This does not mean that simply embracing HPC is enough to make a car company or any other business competitive, however. On the contrary, it is absolutely essential for these organizations to approach HPC in a strategic, comprehensive manner. This means investing not just in the HPC resources themselves, but also all necessary supplemental tools.

Rogue Wave's TotalView is one such essential resource. TotalView Debugger allows users to identify a range of potential issues within HPC systems, from unsatisfactory performance to memory problems and beyond. Critically, TotalView is specific to HPC, enabling users to handle thousands or millions of processors at the same time. This is key for maximizing efficiency and effectiveness. 

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