Technological advances are creating exciting new opportunities that have the potential to move HPC well beyond traditional computational workloads. In this paper we focus on the potential for HPC to be instrumental in responding to disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, extreme flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, winter weather conditions, and accidents. Driven by the VESTEC EU funded H2020 project, our research looks to prove HPC as a tool not only capable of simulating disasters once they have happened, but also one which is able to operate in a responsive mode, supporting disaster response teams making urgent decisions in real-time. Whilst this has the potential to revolutionise disaster response, it requires the ability to drive HPC interactively, both from the user's perspective and also based upon the arrival of data. As such interactivity is a critical component in enabling HPC to be exploited in the role of supporting disaster response teams so that urgent decision makers can make the correct decision first time, every time.
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