Visiting the EAS 2015 trade show in Göteborg last week made me reflect back on Supercomputing ‘95 in San Diego that I visited as part of the Swedish council for high-performance computing. There were large similarities: Byers, vendors and users getting together for a show of spectacularly large and expensive high-tech machines and also watch curiously to see what buyer is talking closely to what seller – although during SC95, the machines were supercomputers, not carousels and roller coasters. Both trade shows featured fast-driving cars or airplanes – the movie and gaming industry have a long tradition of using computing power, although at SC95, the cars or airplanes were likely to be accompanied by a visualization of the flow, e.g. in a numerical windtunnel.
The EAS ice sculpture in the entrance to the opening reception at Liseberg reminded also me of similar sculpture at a Cray party. During that party the guests wore blinking buttons showing the new hypercube T3E architecture – and in the EAS opening reception, the participants wore Liseberg rabbit ears.
Although there are many similarities, there are also differences that can probably be ascribed to the different characters of the relations to their user bases, but also to different relations to science, technology and education.