Skip to main content

Press Release

Supercomputing essential for “cyberscholarship” future

Contact: Paul Redfern
Cell: (607) 227-1865

FOR RELEASE: February 29, 2008

ITHACA, N.Y. – William Arms, Cornell University Professor of Computer Science, writes in the Winter 2008 issue of the Journal of Electronic Publishing that the marriage of high-performance computing with digital libraries will introduce a completely new notion of scale in research and scientific discovery.

“High-performance computing can bring together vast quantities of material—datasets, manuscripts, reports, etc.—that might never make their way into a traditional library.” Arms explains. “A scholar reads only a few hundreds of documents; a supercomputer can analyze millions.”

While noting that a person has a rich understanding of what is being read while a computer works at a very superficial level, Arms argues that profound new research will be made possible by the simple analysis of huge amounts of information. “Computer programs can identify latent patterns of information or relationships that will never be found by human searching or browsing,” he argues. Researchers will want computer programs “to act as their agents” searching billions of items based on intelligent guesses.

Arms believes that high-performance computing will be essential in ushering in the age of “cyberscholarship” when much of the content of scholarly fields will be in the form of digital data collections that are automatically analyzed by computer programs.

“Perhaps the university library will cease to be the largest building on campus and become the largest computing center,” he conjectures.

Arms’ paper, “Cyberscholarship: High Performance Computing Meets Digital Libraries,” provides examples of cyberscholarship and discusses its implications for libraries and publishers.

The paper is available at the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing publications portal at