Back To School – Part 3

So Day 2 of the HPC labs is wrapping up.  I finally got a chance to actually run some tasks on the cluster I built yesterday.  One very cool application I installed and run was Visual Molecular Dynamics (I feel smarter just saying that) which is an OSS application that has been ported to Windows and can take advantage of HPC clusters.  You can run it on your desktop too if you want to impress a date.

"VMD is a molecular visualization program for displaying, animating, and analyzing large biomolecular systems using 3-D graphics and built-in scripting. VMD supports computers running MacOS-X, Unix, or Windows, is distributed free of charge, and includes source code"

Also ran some demos using Excel services to calculate financial transactions.  I haven't been working for Microsoft long enough to require an HPC cluster to balance my checkbook yet 🙂  Very easy to see the benefits to stock traders and with the ease of use, if you can use Excel you can send jobs to the cluster, it is very end user friendly.  I don't think that Windows 2003 CCS will overtake Linux in the HPC world but what it will do is extend HPC into non-traditional areas due to the ease of install, management and use.

One very cool use of Windows 2003 CCS is actually being done by Microsoft Research.  MSR is using a 25 node cluster to research HIV vaccines.  I was surprised to see the Microsoft was doing this as opposed to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  You can read all about that project at

So am I an expert in HPC?  Nope, but I sure know a heck of a lot more than I did on Monday.  Did I enjoy going back to school?  Yep, but I still prefer my day job 🙂

UPDATE: Find out what I really learned at the HPC Workshop!

Comments (5)

  1. ye110wbeard says:

    Ok so THAT’s neat, with that much power they could represent maybe in real time the actual virus to simulate how the cure could work?  

    So much power it makes the mind whirl!   I wonder if you jack enough of them together if you could simulate a real eco-system in live-time.

    Or speed up evolution to see what could happen if such and such did happen.

  2. ye110wbeard says:

    Could you get enough of them together to build a TARDIS?

  3. Graham Jones says:

    Sean, would you be a Doctor Who fan by any chance? TARDIS – Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space. I have been a devoted fan from the very first series in 1963 and was delighted that it was resurrected with help from the CBC.

    Graham J.

  4. ye110wbeard says:


    Yep… since the early 80’s but also watching any of the older ones from time to time.   Only got to see the newest one VERY recently.   Used to be a member of the Dr. Who Fan Club of America.  

    Ooops… Geek mode slipped out… 😉

    I left my sonic screwdriver in the other laptop bag though..

    Rodney.   Ahem… It is MY unpaid job to be a royal smarty pants to Microsoft… What are you trying to do, cut in my turf?

    Shame on you… shame shame… I sense a Roast on the horizon… 😉

  5. Anonymous says:

    A while ago I posted a couple of entries related to High Performance Computing (aka HPC).  You can

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