Everyone involved in Titan's development was working on some degree of faith here, Nichols explains, and everyone was facing the prospect of failure. Cray had to expose itself to a new kind of hardware and interface that would be able to speak between CPUs and GPUs, something that it had never done before. NVIDIA, who has been claiming for some time that its GPUs possess important capabilities that apply far beyond the gaming console or PC, it was time to prove that this kind of hybrid computing could really take place at the supercomputing scale. And ORNL was perhaps in the most precarious position of all, with its leadership role in global supercomputing on the line. Had Titan failed to come online on time (or at all), it would've been a major setback, perhaps a multi-year setback--years that would be very hard to make up in the fast-moving supercomputing field. "For an organization with a mission that has to be met, that cannot afford a stunt, we bet the farm on this hybrid computing environment and we succeeded," Scott says.