I’m moderating a terrific panel discussion at the7x24Exchange next week. The panel comprises industry experts Ken Baker of HP, Tim Cortes of PDI, Sam Macrane of Chil-Pak, Stephen Wetter of Cat, and Kevin Timmons of Microsoft. I’ll be the handsome guy asking the probing questions. If you can get to Phoenix from Sunday-Wednesday, please try to make some time for the event. If you are at the JW Marriott on Tuesday at 11:15 am, we would welcome you at our panel.

I enjoy moderating 7x24Exchange panels. Event organizers make a great effort to ensure that panelists prepare in advance and don’t “wing it” after just a few minutes of discussion. These panelists have already worked very hard, and the process we followed caused me to prepare 13 main questions and as many or more follow-up queries. As a result, the panelists know what ground I want the panel to cover and can prepare their thoughts in advance. They haven’t shared their answers with me and for the most part not with each other either, leaving plenty of room for disagreement and discussion. What will follow, we expect, is a rather free-flowing discussion punctuated by questions from the audience (followed by lunch).

In addition, the ideas submitted by the panelists indicate that they won’t be limiting themselves to a discussion of containers. In one way or another, the five panelists have helped change our discussion from the narrow topic of containers to a much broader discussion of modular discussion. I think this is a great idea as I expect that more data center owners/operators will benefit from having more information about modular construction technologies rather than the subset of containers.

Last week, I noted that China was claiming to have built the world’s fastest supercomputer in a blog about innovation. I asked, “Will an American company build something that will soon outpace both supercomputers?”

I didn’t have to wait long for an answer. Yesterday, insideHPC reported, “According to Jack Dongarra, the keeper of the official Top 500 list of the world’s fastest systems, there are five systems in the planning or construction phases that will exceed the Tianhe 1A in power. Some of the systems that are in the works represent more than merely incremental improvement on existing systems. The University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) will begin to take delivery of one such system in the first half of 2011, ramping up its massive scientific data crunching in the Fall of 2011, says Thom Dunning, director of NCSA. In 2012, the system, called Blue Waters, will be complete and the entire computer will be supporting a full range of scientific research.”