Supercomputing in Industry

T-IMTEC-91-5: Published: Mar 7, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 1991.

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GAO discussed how industries used supercomputers improve productivity, reduce costs, and develop new products. GAO noted that: (1) the oil industry's application of the supercomputer, to aid in oil exploration and production, has saved money and increased oil production; (2) supercomputer-based wind-tunnel tests have resulted in significant time and cost savings, as well as better designs, for the aerospace industry; (3) crash simulation supercomputers provided more precise engineering information than was typically available from actually crashing vehicles, and it reduced the number of tests required by 20 to 30 percent; (4) pharmaceutical companies used supercomputers to aid in developing new drugs, and the chemical industry used computer simulations to replace or enhance more traditional laboratory measurements; and (5) factors limiting the widespread use of supercomputers included their high costs, new methods of research, the lack of applicable and reliable software, and the lack of trained personnel.

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