[Beowulf] MS Cray

Gus Correa gus at ldeo.columbia.edu
Tue Sep 16 18:18:52 EDT 2008


Hi Prentice and Beowulf fans

Prentice Bisbal wrote:

>Gus Correa wrote:
>  
>
>>Dear Beowulf and COTS fans
>>
>>For those of you who haven't read the news today:
>>
>>http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/16/cray_baby_super/
>>
>>IGIDH (I guess it doesn't help.)
>>
>>Gus Correa
>>
>>    
>>
>
>Quote from article:
>
>"It's also attempting to lure scientists and researchers with
>discretionary IT budgets to forget using shared, giant clusters and get
>their own box and tuck it in behind their desk where no one can see it
>to run their workloads locally. The personal supercomputer is not a new
>idea, but this is the first time that Cray is trying it out in the market."
>
>  
>
I guess there are and there have been other competitors for this niche 
market,
although maybe not with so marketable logos and brand names,
with slightly different scope, etc. 
Two recent examples:

http://sicortex.com/products/sc072_pds
http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla_d870.html

Well, who knows, maybe beowulfs will dwindle,
and products like these will become the HPC mainstream.
Windows has such a foothold in the computer market that this may prove 
to be possible.
Would this be the end of civilization as we know it? (Unix,  Linux,  
COTS, reading this list, ...)
Or would it be replaced by a new state of affairs,
a  move towards HPC machines with proprietary design and proprietary 
software,
after which we would perhaps be back again to an open architecture?
Anyway, economic cycles may not be this much cyclic.

>That will work great until the newbie scientists find that airflow into
>a computer tucked in "behind their desk where no one can see it" is piss
>poor, and that fans powerful enough to provide adequate airflow "behind
>the desk where no one can see it" are going to be LOUD.
>
>  
>
To their credit, they seem to be aware of the noise problem.
Quoting the article:

"Because the CX1 sits in an office environment, the front of the chassis 
has an optional noise cancellation add-on, which drops the whirring of 
fan noise down to the point where it is actually legal to put it in an 
office environment."

Otherwise, your "newbie scientist" can put his/her earbuds and pump up 
the volume on his Ipod,
while he/she navigates through the Vista colorful 3D menus.

I still think that there are savings, and perhaps some virtue,
in assembling some components and replacing parts by myself, with a 
simple screwdriver.
Or at least to be able to do so, to have this potential.
But maybe this is just wishful romantic thinking.

Gus Correa

-- 
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Gustavo J. Ponce Correa, PhD - Email: gus at ldeo.columbia.edu
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory - Columbia University
P.O. Box 1000 [61 Route 9W] - Palisades, NY, 10964-8000 - USA
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