Supercomputers make better formulation partners, thanks to tech improvements

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Computer

Supercomputers make better formulation partners, thanks to tech improvements
Personal care companies can use big data more effectively and efficiently with the help of newer, faster, cheaper machines out of Silicon Valley.

As the knowhow behind supercomputers advances so does the potential of these systems to aid in the development and manufacture of cosmetics and other personal care products.

“Think of a supercomputer as a cluster of tens of thousands of Mac workstations performing together like a symphony orchestra to process billions and trillions of bits of data every second, sometimes for hundreds of users,” ​encourages the San Jose Mercury News in a recent article on supercomputing firms in the Valley.

Evolving technology

A vast number of data points go into developing each personal care product: data on consumer expectations, data on scent, tactile characteristics, benefits, shelf life, packaging option—the list goes on and on. And as more data becomes available, more data needs to be considered in order to create optimized products.

This is where the capabilities of supercomputers come in. “Procter & Gamble uses high-performance computing to design detergents and shampoo,” ​observes the San Jose Mercury News.

By performing useful calculations and solving queries in short time, the machines have become more relevant in business enterprise. “Once confined to big national laboratories, supercomputers are now in demand to crunch massive amounts of data for industries such as oil exploration, finance and online sales,” ​explains that publication.

Speed is indeed of the essence in this business. And, the fastest machines are still in those large labs. Aurora, which is anticipated to be world’s fastest supercomputer, is currently being built by Intel in partnership with Cray.  That machine will be online in 2018 and located at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

Less expensive

The price of these high-performance computers is dropping. Now, “supercomputer prices run from $500,000 to more than $100 million,”​ according to the San Jose Mercury News.

So while they aren’t cheap, they are more accessible to large FMCG companies. And, thousands are being sold every year, notes the News. "A whole class of things start to become practical as the cost of computing drops," ​an Intel fellow told the publication. 

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