[Beowulf] Win64 Clusters!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Hearns john.hearns at streamline-computing.com
Mon Apr 9 14:00:27 EDT 2007

Peter St. John wrote:
> MS contributed marketing. That's it. That's enough.
I disagree, strangely enough.

Bob Brown has mentioned in this thread that the 'tipping point' for him 
came with the PII or PIV when code ran faster than big RISC machines.

I'll throw into the mix that nearly all 'big science' applications at 
the time ran on VMS or mainframe OSes, or supercomputers (Cray or CDC).
At the time, Unix was seen by scientists as an OS for longhairs and 
computer science types.

Along comes the Intel i386 architecture, and just as importantly for 
scientific computing, the DEC Alpha. Scientists see a big 
price/performance gain with the Alpha architecture.
But what did they both run - Windows NT. And remember that NT was 
developed by the man hired by Microsoft from DEC.
So at one point in history there was a prospect of having a unified OS 
running on everything from the desktop (i386) through to the Alpha 
powered job farms to the MIPS powered big SMP machines.
Purely personal opinion, but I believe that Microsoft missed a big trick 
by dropping Alpha support for NT.

The other tipping point came with SunOS/Solaris.
A C compiler came bundled with SunOS (I'm not sure of my facts here, but 
as I recall free for academic use). With the switch to Solaris the 
compiler became a paid-for extra. In my experience, it caused the group 
I Was working with to look seriously at the Gnu C compiler for the first 
time, and with it the rest of the GNU tools.

      John Hearns
      Senior HPC Engineer
      Streamline Computing,
      The Innovation Centre, Warwick Technology Park,
      Gallows Hill, Warwick CV34 6UW
      Office: 01926 623130 Mobile: 07841 231235
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