In this issue, three of our feature articles focus on some of the top vendors vying for supercomputer leadership — Cray, IBM and Linux Networx. Though quite different in product offerings and corporate strategy, all these companies have had and, hopefully, will continue to have a significant role in the high performance computing market.
And while some might be tempted to label Cray, IBM and Linux Networx as representatives of the past, present and future of high performance computing, that history has yet to be written. Our “American Idol” tendency to pick winners and losers should be resisted. Today each of these companies offers worthwhile HPC products and all have compelling plans for future ones. The diversity of vendors reflects the diversity of users in the high performance computing community. And while competing products may vanquish one another, the ideas embodied by these companies benefit everyone.
It slices, dices, chops, purees and … scales?
In The Parallel Veg-O-Matic, Bob Feldman (no relation), president of HPC Marketing, takes a critical look at Cray's “Adaptive Computing” strategy for their next generation supercomputers. Many have championed the notion of heterogeneous computer architectures as a natural evolution of general-purpose computing. Now Cray has put its stake in the ground and suggested a way forward. Bob asks some tough questions and wonders if this new model will deliver what the HPC community is looking for.
Blue Gene — not just for LLNL
The IBM Blue Gene technology gets a lot of flattering press these days — no doubt some of it related to its one-two ranking in the Linpack benchmark. But owning a Blue Gene is more than just a status symbol. At least it better be. At a million plus per rack, you need to have a good reason to buy one. But buy them they do. Last month, two major deployments of Blue Gene systems, one in Japan and the other in Germany, made headlines. And Big Blue sees a good pipeline for more deployments later this year. Herb Schultz, Blue Gene General Manager at IBM, shares his perspectives on what's behind these developments in IBM Sees Blue Gene Adoption Growing.
Bo knows HPC
Buoyed by the double-digit revenue growth at Linux Networx, Robert (Bo) Ewald, Chairman and CEO of Linux Networx, can barely contain his enthusiasm about the company's prospects. It's hard to argue with success. In this interview, Linux Networx is Aiming High, Ewald gives us some hints on how he's positioning the company's product line to take advantage of the latest technology. He also shares his views about the high-end supercomputing market — an area that the company is actively pursuing. As someone who's been the chief operating officer at both Cray and SGI, Ewald has a unique perspective on the inner workings of the HPC industry.
— Michael Feldman