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What would happen if a time warp dropped a modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner onto the tarmac in 1950s Seattle?

Imagine curious techies from Boeing headquarters hurrying over to study this marvel of engineering. The electronics would amaze; so would the power of the engines, and the sophistication of the materials science in props and airframe. The safety features alone would jolt the thinking of engineers decades into the future.

Artist’s concept of 787-10, the largest Dreamliner variant. Image credit: Altair78 / Wikimedia Commons

But despite the coolness, the Dreamliner would not be a useful addition to airline fleets in 1950. In fact, it’s doubtful that 1950 would even get the plane off the ground, regardless of how long folks studied and how thoroughly they understood the principles by which it was built. The avionics in a 787 are designed to interface with an air traffic control system that did not exist back then. The lighting and runways in 1950 were not built to handle aircraft like the Dreamliner. Pilots were not trained on its flight instruments. Suppliers could provide no replacement parts. Mechanics would not be able to repair its systems. Few if any routes generated enough passenger demand to keep it full. Jet bridges and fuel fixtures and catering trucks might not even be able to interface to it correctly.

In other words, what makes the Dreamliner fly is a lot more than Bernoulli’s Principle. That creation is at the apex of an incredibly complex economic “food chain” that requires support from a thousand different sources.

Why am I talking about this on Adaptive Computing’s blog?

Well, Adaptive Computing sits squarely at the convergence of three powerful market phenomena that are blossoming into the darlings of the Information Age: cloud computing, high-performance computing, and big data. As I have written before, all the bits and bytes we’re accumulating have a purpose—we are hungry for insight that makes the world a better place. And delivering on that promise takes a lot of sophisticated investment in all three areas.

Unfortunately, some organizations think that “cloud computing” or “big data” or “HPC” is something you can just buy by plunking down a wad of cash and waiting for a shiny new engineering marvel to roll out of the hangar.

It doesn’t work that way.

In order to derive deep economic value—and insight—from any of these three tech waves, you need to build runways and supply chains. You need to train mechanics and pilots. You need different tools and a different organization.

The good news is you don’t have to get there on your own. Adaptive Computing has deployed its solutions on some of the most complex clouds and HPC environments in the world, with some of the most interesting big data assets. We’d love to help you out. Give us a ring and let’s take off together!

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