HPC in the Cloud, a very insightful and well-written blog, published an article titled “HPC 360 Highlights Manufacturing’s Missing Middle“. There, author Nicole Hemsoth describes how a sector of the U.S. economy is losing competitiveness because companies are failing to take advantage of new computing technology.
This sector, called manufacturing’s “missing middle”, is comprised of the companies that furnish the large factories of the Midwest with the myriads of components and services that drive their production – the supply chain. Recent research has shown that, while China is taking full advantage of HPC technology to drive business, American industry has lagged behind, hurting its competitiveness in the global market.
There are several reasons why HPC solutions are not finding their way to the missing middle. First, most of the HPC providers in the US are located on the coasts, and their efforts are geared towards servicing clients there. Second, many companies in the missing middle are not knowledgeable about how HPC can help their business – supercomputing has long been exclusively for expensive government-funded laboratories, but that is not the case anymore. Finally, computing companies in the Midwest – the “Silicon Prairie” – have not stepped up to facilitate the missing middle’s transition into adopting supercomputing applications for business.
The moral of the story is that for many American industries to stay competitive (especially the missing middle of manufacturing), they have to incorporate HPC solutions when their business can benefit from them. It is both the responsibility of the HPC providers in the Silicon Prairie and the companies of the missing middle in the Midwest to work together in upgrading the computing technology that powers American manufacturing.