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Supercomputers Increase Research Competitiveness.

University of Arkansas (AK) (01/24/11) Matt McGowan

Research competitiveness for U.S. academic institutions is boosted by consistent investment in high-performance computing, according to a new study by University of Arkansas researchers. “Even at modest levels, such investments, if consistent from year to year, strongly correlate to new [U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)] funding for science and engineering research, which in turn leads to more published articles,” says Amy Apon, director of the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center. Among the factors the researchers considered to ascertain an investment’s impact on competitiveness were ranking on the Top 500 list, number of published articles, total NSF funding, overall total of federal funding, and total funding from specific federal entities. A pair of statistical models was used to measure and analyze data from these factors, and Apon and colleagues observed an economically and statistically significant impact on higher NSF funding and published articles by researchers at investing institutions. The researchers determined that an initial or one-time investment in supercomputing loses value quickly if investments are not sustained. “Our results suggest that institutions that have attained significant returns from investment in high-performance computing in the past cannot rest on laurels,” Apon says.

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