While David Lowe and folks are getting mid-60s in Barcelona at IT Forum, there's a bunch of us enjoying the sun (through the convention center windows) and heavy-number crunching computing in Tampa at Supercomputing 2006. You can see video highlights of the conference at WinHPC.org. Others from the HPC community who are commenting from the show include Dan, Joe and Doug.
We had a healthy discussion this evening over dinner about GRID computing. The emphasis was added because everyone in the room had at least a graduate degree, yet it took a 10-minute discussion to determine what grid meant. Our friends from IDC played mediator (thank you) and we were able to agree with their proposal. The major points are that grid computing requires several components, such as access cross-domain, cross ownership and cross-security realm. And from here we discussed cycle stealing/harvesting and other models that enable the free pooling of compute cycles from workstations. About that time the dessert cart appeared and the homemade tiramisu won out.
Afterward, our beowulf cluster conversation continued in the cab ride back. Who knew that our cab driver would be a Linux/Perl enthusiast, running multiple Linux distros/Debian and WinXP on his Compaq laptop that he carried with him. Based on our conversation, we had no chance of selling him on Windows Vista; but Services for UNIX and Powershell sounded like possibilities. If John posts photos of our driver, I'll update this posting.
Aside from this, we've been seeing that the SC06 crowd seems open to consider a Microsoft offering for high-performance computing. Since Linux constitutes 75% of the new Top500 systems and 90% of the new HPC clusters sold, we certainly have a ways to go before gaining equal consideration. But the backing and support of supercomputing centers at universities, hardware vendors and application vendors has really helped to prove the value of a Windows Server-based HPC offering. Even El Reg picked up on this during an interview today.
And tomorrow will be another sunny day (through the windows) in Tampa.