Supercomputing in Industry

T-IMTEC-91-3: Published: Mar 5, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 1991.

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GAO discussed how industries used supercomputers to improve productivity, reduce costs, and develop new products, focusing on the oil, aerospace, pharmaceutical, and automobile industries' use of supercomputers and their associated benefits. GAO noted that: (1) the oil industry used supercomputers to better determine the location of oil reservoirs and to maximize the recovery of oil, resulting in monetary savings and increased oil production; (2) engineers and researchers used supercomputers to design, develop, and test aerospace vehicles and related equipment, resulting in significant time and cost savings, as well as better designs, for the aerospace industry; (3) automobile manufacturers have increasingly used supercomputers since 1985 as a design tool to make cars safer, lighter, more economical, and better built, allowing the automobile industry to achieve design improvements at significant savings; (4) supercomputers' growing roles in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries should result in new discoveries that may not have been otherwise possible; and (5) such barriers as cost, cultural resistance, lack of application software, and a lack of trained scientists limited more widespread use of supercomputers.

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