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 https://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=201111
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!