The capability and affordability of computing hardware has advanced so rapidly in the last decade the use of computational modeling as a tool has changed the very practice of science and engineering. In driving advanced computing at GE’s research lab over that time, my team confronted a number of cultural and technical barriers ranging from the ability of software to keep pace with the hardware advances (and sudden turns) to addressing inevitable questions of return on investment. I will describe some of this journey and the milestones along the way, as well as reflect upon implications this ongoing transformation will have more broadly. While adoption of sophisticated computational models and data analytics has been essential for producers of industrial products competing on a global scale, the impact of this affordable abundance of computation and data storage now reaches into essentially all fields, markets, and professions. Accordingly, the knowledge and skills employers seek from their workforce follows – making computational literacy or proficiency a differentiator in the practice of many professions.
Rick Arthur is the Senior Principal Engineer for GE Global Research Computational Sciences & Architectures and Director of Advanced Computing. He has an MBA from the University at Albany, Masters of Engineering in Computer Systems Engineering from RPI, and BS in Computer Engineering from Clarkson University. He joined General Electric’s central research hub (then called Corporate Research & Development) in Niskayuna, NY in 1990 and over his career worked on a widely-diverse set of projects in markets such as medical imaging, military/aerospace, rail transportation, power generation and transmission, broadcast media, financial services, life sciences, and security. He is responsible for driving vision, strategy and coordination of computing-enabled technology from embedded devices through supercomputing. Computing is central to GE’s major initiatives in Industrial Internet and Advanced Manufacturing. He serves on several advisory committees including the US Council on Competitiveness HPC Initiative, and the NCSA Blue Waters Science & Engineering Technical Advisory Council. He is a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery and is active in promoting awareness and shaping policy relating to STEM education and careers.