Feeds

Gates promises a supercomputer under every desk

Er, unless security is a problem

Top three mobile application threats

SC05 Not satisfied with owning your PC, Microsoft would like to own your personal cluster too. So said Chairman Bill Gates today at the Supercomputing 2005 conference here in Seattle, where he laid out a vision that includes inexpensive super-powered machines available to average users - not just government labs and universities.

"What we see as a key trend here is that we will have supercomputers of all sizes, including ones that will cost less than $10,000 and be able to sit at your desk or in a department," Gates said.

A rather humble Gates admitted that Unix and Linux dominate the supercomputing landscape, a fact that only Redmondian logic could deny. To that end, Microsoft plans to create Windows cluster software that can work in tandem with Linux-based kit. Microsoft showed a demo where a Windows cluster and Linux cluster cranked away on calculations at the same time and delivered up a shared set of data to the end user. (What kind of demo? Cancer research of course. How subtle.)

"It's all about heterogeneity," Gates said.

While some reports suggeseted that Gates talked up a new, publicly available beta of its Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 operating system, Gates mentioned the product's name but gave no more information. The OS is due in production form in the first half of next year. Microsoft, however, did reveal the beta 2 news in a press release.

Microsoft also opened up about its cluster OS at an event in Spain.

Overall, Gates' message proved a bit boring. He mentioned that supercomputers do important things and will be more important in the coming years because we face important issues. Microsoft, of course, will have a tough time cracking into this important work since Linux is the OS of choice for the supercomputer crowd.

Gates does seem to be on the right track though as far as the personal clusters are concerned. Orion Multisystems already makes a super-charged 96-processor deskside cluster than can plug into a standard wall outlet. Researchers have been seeking such machines which will let them crank away at projects right in their labs and transfer bigger jobs to the giant clusters that require special cooling systems and have higher power requirements.

"We need an approach here that scales from the smallest supercomputer up to the very largest," Gates said.

Microsoft plans to tie its other productivity, database and workflow applications into the cluster OS over time. This would make it possible for researchers to set up projects and then easily see relevant information about the data they were collecting and how other scientists were using the information. Apparently, RSS feeds are very important in this vision, which gives you some idea of how Microsoft may fail in the supercomputing space.

The 9,000-person Supercomputing crowd appeared enthralled with Gates and peppered him with probing questions following the keynote. Gates was forced to address his opinions on global warming and supercomputing security.

"I am not really an expert on the energy problem," Gates said to the first question.

"Security is one of the few things that, if we don't do it right, could take this vision I have talked about and really hold it back," Gates said.

Hold on to your hats, friends. Your DNA could be one worm away from entering the global computing grid. But at least you'll have a really fast PC for playing Doom 78. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.