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Journal of Information Technology Impact




This paper studies the relationship between investments in High-Performance Computing (HPC) instrumentation and research competitiveness. Measures of institutional HPC investment are computed from data that is readily available from the Top 500 list, a list that has been published twice a year since 1993 that lists the fastest 500 computers in the world at that time. Institutions that are studied include US doctoral-granting institutions that fall into the very high or high research rankings according to the Carnegie Foundation classifications and additional institutions that have had entries in the Top 500 list. Research competitiveness is derived from federal funding data, compilations of scholarly publications, and institutional rankings. Correlation and Two Stage Least Square regression is used to analyze the research-related returns to investment in HPC. Two models are examined and give results that are both economically and statistically significant. Appearance on the Top 500 list is associated with a contemporaneous increase in NSF funding levels as well as a contemporaneous increase in the number of publications. The rate of depreciation in returns to HPC is rapid. The conclusion is that consistent investments in HPC at even modest levels are strongly correlated to research competitiveness.


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