SC17 Denver, CO

Small Business and the Exascale Computing Project

Authors: Dr. Richard Lethin (Reservoir Labs Inc, Yale University)

Abstract: Working with the US Exascale Computing Project (ECP) is an important opportunity for Small Business and the United States. Small Business is a major source of US innovation, fueled by entrepreneurial spirit, venture capital, unique technology, and hard work. There are opportunities for Small Business to both benefit from ECP funding (providing R&D and NRE services and technology to ECP) and from ECP technology (utilizing the software, hardware, and systems from ECP). This session will bring together ECP leadership, SBIR PMs, and Small Business to make connections and understand opportunities, to enhance ECP success and impact with Small Business participation.

Long Description: Goal

Build the connections to enhance US DOE ECP success, by helping Small Business understand the opportunities available to win business with the ECP, to transition technology to the ECP, and to benefit from ECP results.


ECP leadership will describe their vision, budgets, timelines, and plans for involving Small Business in the project. This can include teaming with lab projects, teaming with large hardware vendors, direct responses to funding opportunity announcements, SBIR tech transition, and advisory council participation, as well as learning how and where to access the resulting technologies from the program.

The DOE Small Business Innovative Research program will also be discussed, describing the program processes, budget plans, personnel, and Intellectual Property (IP) rules. Small Business leadership will have an opportunity to give an overview of the array of companies with available technologies (e.g., companies previously funded by SBIR, VC, and potential academic project commercialization).

Relevance to expected HPC audience

The Supercomputing Conference is a unique confluence of government, national labs, project personnel, vendors (both exhibitors and attendees), and academics. In general, despite being such a source of innovation and economic strength, Small Businesses are overlooked: "vendors" referring incorrectly to just to big chip companies or system integrators. Consequently, Small Business is "last in line" for Supercomputing R&D funding. Similarly, there are many Small Businesses that can benefit from the results of ECP, integrating software (e.g., math libraries, algorithms, ...) from ECP, particularly when HPC is now so democratized (available desk side in GPGPU, or large arrays of hardware in the cloud). Supercomputing as a whole serves to make business connections, and Small Businesses do exhibit, but there also are specific funding venues, plans, and opportunities for connecting Small Business with ECP to discuss. We will particularly address earliest stage businesses, e.g., potential new businesses that could be formed by academics with unique technologies and getting them to the starting line of commercialization.

Whether the BOF has been held before

No, this will be a novel and new BOF.

The concept for this BOF emerged from conversations with DOE ASCR leadership (Steve Binkley). Particularly when the success of ECP depends so much on software, broadening technology supply for ECP to include Small Business Independent Software Vendors is critical. The Session Leader has, at the time of this submission, received supportive responses from Dr. Binkley attending from DOE ASCR leadership and the ECP (Al Geist, CTO) for participation in the BOF, modulo travel, scheduling and budget. We expect DOE SBIR program manager, Labs leadership, and Small Business leadership participation will be easy to bring on, if the BOF is approved.

Although the proposed BOF will focus on the US ECP Small Business connection, International participants will also find the session interesting, to help spur such connection in their own countries' programs, and to share perspectives on how such programs currently work in their countries. The Session Leader will be prepared with questions to draw international participation in the discussion.

Conference Presentation: pdf

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