I am sad to announce that Chris Hipp, our Director of Business Development, passed away early this week in California. He was 47.
Chris was an important figure in HPC, and was a pioneer in the blade server industry. As a founder of RLX, he introduced and commercialized several novel ideas. When we were at SC08 last year, we were walking the floor with some friends. One of them (Dave Ditzel, a founder of Transmeta, whose chips Chris’ machines had used) pointed out that nearly every machine on display traced its lineage back to RLX.
Chris was also a competitive cyclist, and grew up with, competed against, and beat, Lance Armstrong. Lance took time out from his Tour de France efforts to pass along his condolences. The cycling community has posted several remembrances, here are some links. His heart gave out while he was on his morning ride. His cycling friends put up his jersey and water bottle on Sand Hill road, where he passed.
Chris got into cycling in a somewhat strange way. Earlier in his life he was a professional motocross rider. This eventually destroyed his back and knees and he had to quit. As part of his rehab he was told to cycle. This then eventually led to competing in races and getting hooked on the sport. On at least one occasion on a visit to Vancouver he packed his gear and did some of our races.
In addition Chris had many friends in the music industry–for example, Clash bassist Paul Simonon was a good friend of his.
The first I heard of Chris was in 2002 in a PC World article on the Green Destiny machine. I remember thinking at the time that the idea of packing lots of low-power chips into a small space made a lot of sense and making a mental note that if I got a chance to meet him to talk to him about it.
Shortly after this Jeremy met him and started talking to him about what we were doing. He got interested and we started talking about the HPC community and how hard it was to introduce radically new ideas. Ever since we had been working together on introducing superconducting quantum computers into national labs in the US and Europe.
Chris was one of the good guys. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to spend the time I did with him.
RIP buddy, you’ll be missed.