[Beowulf] Re: Redmond is at it, again

Douglas O'Flaherty douglas at shore.net
Fri Jun 4 01:30:46 EDT 2004


I wanted to add a 5th point to Laurence's excellent  summary that I 
didn't see elsewhere.

(5) The developers require an environment for rapid iterations of code 
development targetted to clusters.

Where Windows clusters have already been successful is in transfering PC 
code to a compute farm for more efficient processing. Financial Analysis 
using Monte Carlo comes immediately to mind. Tools such as Matlab (and 
in another generation MSFT Visual Studio) can create code for 
distributed computing. It's unlikely to be especially good MPI code, but 
I bet it will work. Relative to QCD or modeling, Monte Carlo is barely 
cluster computing, but it is a large and viable commercial market. This 
is a similar driver for Xserves in the data centers of Life Science 
researchers -- they already have Macs on their desks and they can turn 
the code quickly.

The list has discussed the sysadmin and economic point of views very 
well, but there hasn't been much about how tools for the end-user will 
influences the decisions. Joe captured some of this referring to the ISV 
support.

When Cornell deployed the Windows clusters back a few years, the typical 
cluster developer grumbled some. The surprise was how many new users 
asked to be on the Windows clusters. Many were not from the hard 
sciences, but from economics and other departments who needed to do 
numerical analysis. For the academics on this list, that may be an 
un-tapped market for funds from other departments. You might learn to 
like having a Windows cluster in the data center. I suggest calling it 
Bofa ;)

doug

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