The Week in Review

By John E. West

April 27, 2007

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

Seed Magazine video on the impact of supercomputing on science,
http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2007/04/science_in_silico.php

Study finds California leads in tech jobs, wages, venture cash,
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070424/high_tech_economy.html?.v=2

IBM and The Nature Conservancy apply IT, save great rivers,
http://www.nature.org/wherewework/greatrivers/press/press2952.html

China targets 3 PFLOPS systems by 2010,
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=39142

>>PCAST draft report

Dan Reed has a post on his blog this week talking about the big points in PCAST's successor to the 1999 PITAC report produced under the chairmanship of Ken Kennedy and Bill Joy.

Professor Reed draws out this thread (in red) as the main take home: “the leadership position of the U.S. in IT is at risk.” The report recommends four actions:

   1. Expand the U.S. IT workforce.
   2. Invest in longer-term research.
   3. Repriortize NITRD research to better address emerging needs.
   4. A strategic interagency plan must be developed to better coordinate NITRD's programs and research.

>>DOJ joins whistleblower lawsuit alleging corruption in federal IT purchasing

Three lawsuits, originally filed in 2004, were joined last week by the U.S. Department of Justice. The suits allege that HP and Sun secretly paid millions of dollars to other vendors that sold their products to government agencies, and that Accenture accepted such kickbacks.

Although there is plenty of alleged wrongdoing to go around here, Accenture really shines in this scandal according to coverage at Information Week.

For example, between 1998 and 2006 the government alleges that Accenture earned $4 million in rebates and fees that by regulation should have been passed back to the government. The complaint alleges these fees were received from EMC, HP, IBM, Informatica, Mercury Interactive, NCR, PeopleSoft, and Sun.

Accenture is also accused of reselling discounted hardware to the government at higher prices without disclosing those arrangements. According to the article, “From 2000 through 2006, Accenture generated a total of $20.4 million in 'unallowable resale revenue' from SAP, Manugistics, GTSI, HP, Mercury Interactive, Northrop Grumman, Oracle, SeeBeyond, Computer Associates, CGI-AMS, Tech Data Corp., E-Plus, CDW, Vastera, Yantra, Sun, IBM, Ingram Micro, ACSIS, Dell, World Wide Technology, SAS, PeopleSoft, Informatica, Hyperion, Siebel Systems, EMC, SBC Datacom, Micro Warehouse, Intellithought, Government Acquisition Inc., Intevoice, Presidio, Togethersoft, and Verity.”

Of the companies whose business with Accenture is under scrutiny, only HP and Sun have been accused of breaking the law. If the other companies listed get pulled further into this mess, though, the U.S. IT business could be in for a lot of bad press over the next 18 months.

>>RapidMind lands $10 million in venture funding

Canadian software company RapidMind announced this week it has closed $10 million in venture funding. This round was led by Ventures West Capital Ltd. and included EdgeStone Capital Partners and existing investor BDC Venture Capital. Begun as Serious Hack Inc. to commercialize unique technology that was developed at the University of Waterloo in Canada, RapidMind announced its name change on March 1 of last year and closed its first round of venture funding March 14, 2006 with capital firm BDC Venture Capital.

The RapidMind Development Platform is targeted at software developers trying to get the best performance out of multi-core and stream processors such as GPUs and the Cell BE.

>>AMD's bumpy quarter

AMD started quietly selling 3 GHz versions of its chips last week, and this week made the announcement public. According to News.com, “The new 'special edition' models, the 2222 SE and 8222 SE, feature higher performance but consume up to 120 watts compared with 95 watts for conventional 2.8 GHz Opterons and 68 watts for 2.6 GHz high-efficiency models.”

This comes amid news that AMD lost a bundle in the first quarter of 2007. AMD reported a net loss of $611 million in the quarter just ended, following a loss of $529 million in the fourth quarter of 2006. The losses and ensuing cash crunch sparked AMD to announce its intent to issue $2.2 billion in convertible notes.

—–

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 [email protected].

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