The US announced that the new Frontier Supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) has achieved sustained exascale performance and is now the faster supercomputer in the world. It is similar to the sort of machines I helped build for the financial services sector, but quite a bit larger. This displaces the previous leader, the Japanese Fugaku Supercomputer.
For some reason this morning the mention of ORNL reminded me of the old country and western group the Oak Ridge Boys. Surely there is no connection. But there is!
The core group that would eventually lead to the Oak Ridge Boys was a country group called Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers, formed in 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee. They were requested to perform for staff members and their families restricted during World War II at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in nearby Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They were asked to sing there so often that, eventually, they changed their name to the Oak Ridge Quartet … In 1961, Gatlin changed the group’s name to “the Oak Ridge Boys” because their producer, Bud Praeger, thought “Oak Ridge Quartet” sounded too old-fashioned for their contemporary sound.