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June 1, 2007

The Week in Review

by John E. West

Here's a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week's HPC news stream as reported at insideHPC.com and HPCwire.

>>10 words and a link

IDC predicts InfiniBand HCA sales triple over next 4 years;
http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/1581029.html

America's Cup defender doubles computing power, “over 600 cores”;
http://insidehpc.com/2007/05/28/hpc-and-americas-cup/

Queensland invests in supercomputer for Climate Change Centre of Excellence;
http://insidehpc.com/2007/05/28/hpc-in-indooroopilly/

Dell offers systems with factory installed Ubuntu 7.04 Linux distribution;
http://insidehpc.com/2007/05/28/dell-offers-ubuntu/

IBM, Chartered Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics join on 32-nanometer design;
http://tinyurl.com/3ahr72

Canadian-based Liquid Computing claims world record STREAM result;
http://www.liquidcomputing.com/news_events/press_releases/press_releases_stream.php

>>Linux Networx's new visualization system

HPC hardware vendor Linux Networx (LNXI) announced this week the second generation of its high-end visualization system. The system is designed to balance the compute, interconnect, high performance I/O, and graphics needed for interactive analysis of large scientific data sets.

The second generation LS-V High Performance Visualization System includes dual core Opterons, InfiniBand, and (optionally) LNXI's version of GPFS. The LS-V is configured in turnkey, production-ready systems ranging in size from 3 to 31 visualization nodes (or 32 — their website differs from the press release). More on this system at http://tinyurl.com/2tnx48.

In June of last year, Linux Networx was talking up the results of its gen 1 version of this system that achieved a rendering rate of 1.5 billion polygons per second while running Computational Engineering International's (CEI) EnSight DR — three times the previous rendering record (http://tinyurl.com/2t4pas).

>>Rackable: the executive shake up continues

The Register is reporting that Rackable's executive purge continues with the dismissal of Todd Ford, the company's former Executive Vice President, effective last week (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/29/rackable_ford_out/).

According to the regulatory filing, Ford walks away with 12 months of continued salary ($350,000 U.S.) and health insurance, and accelerated vesting for his stock options (filing at http://biz.yahoo.com/e/070529/rack8-k_a.html).

The change evidently wasn't unexpected; from The Register:

“Over the last couple of months, Rackable had said that Ford would leave the company at the end of the year. It seems his departure was accelerated by new CEO Mark Barrenechea.”

The company's share price has dropped from over $40 a year ago to around $12 at the end of May. You may recall that Rackable announced in April that it lost $10.2 million U.S. in Q1, triggered by a loss of business with Yahoo!, Microsoft and Amazon to competitors IBM, HP, Sun and Dell (http://insidehpc.com/2007/04/27/rackables-troubled-financials/).

Earlier this year Rackable also announced its own containerized computing solution to compete with Sun's (http://insidehpc.com/2007/03/26/rackables-datacenter-in-a-box/). At one point, there were rumors that Sun would acquire Rackable, but the deal didn't pan out (http://insidehpc.com/2007/03/23/sun-and-rackable/). Apparently, Dell also showed some interest.

From The Register:

“Our sources contend that Rackable passed on a lucrative acquisition offer from Dell, which served as the trigger for the management shuffle.”

—–

John West summarizes the headlines in HPC every day at insideHPC.com, and writes on leadership and career issues for technology professionals at InfoWorld and on his own blog at onlytraitofaleader.com. You can contact him at john@insidehpc.com.