Arm Joins Industry Shift to SC21 Virtual-only

Fujitsu RIKEN Fugaku Room
Fujitsu RIKEN Fugaku Room

A storyline that has emerged today is that major chipmakers have shifted plans from attending Supercomputing 2021, or SC21, in-person to making them virtual-only participation events. After official confirmations this afternoon from NVIDIA and Intel, we have another confirmation. Arm has told STH that it also plans to participate in SC21 as a virtual-only forum.

Arm Joins Industry Shift to SC21 Virtual-only

We received text message confirmation earlier today, but here is the official statement from an Arm spokesperson:

Arm will participate virtually in SC21.” (Source: Arm spokesperson e-mail confirmation to STH)

We now have official confirmation that Arm, the company responsible for the IP behind Supercomputer Fugaku by Fujitsu and RIKEN that is currently #1 on the latest Top500 list. Arm is also gaining traction in other segments of the HPC space including the EU’s exascale computing vision so it is clearly has become a bigger part of the supercomputing space.

Final Words

The fact is, we are still in the middle of a global pandemic. As much as the STH team and I are excited for SC21, here we are. With NVIDIA, Intel, and Arm already out, and what sounds like re-evaluation happening at a number of other companies, it seems unlikely the industry is going to converge with force in St. Louis two months from now.

Again, given where we are in the cycle, it is probably wise to at least take pause and thank those who have been working on putting together SC21 for many quarters at this point. This is one of those bits of news that is important, but it is also one that we are not excited to share with the STH community. We have been working on contingency plans for the past few weeks as the COVID-19 Delta variant has picked up momentum, so stay tuned to STH for more.


  1. Sad, but your health is more important than recycled sand. SC22 will be even more exciting.
    We’re enjoying your hardware “virtual only” anyways!

  2. It may be less about health than about why physical conferences existed, and how modern info tech has made much of the value proposition redundant.
    Trade shows have been in decline in lock-step with the rise of the internet. Incidents like 9/11 and COVID merely push the marginals over the cliff.
    …speaking as someone who worked trade shows in the 70s & 80s, and attended both peak COMDEX … and the last COMDEX.

  3. The SC21 conference organizers are not issuing refunds to any company who is transitioning to virtual-only at this point. There is little reason to attend the show now with all of the big vendors pulling out, yet nobody is getting any refunds. Bob has a good point about trade shows in general declining over the years, there was a noticeable decline in foot traffic in the SC shows leading up to 2020. We are 2 years into this now and people are still afraid of each other, and doesn’t seem to be any signs of it being any different next year – so all these together, my organization will not be signing up for SC22. There is just too much risk for signing up for these things at this point in time.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.