HPC news from Schlumberger, Microsoft, SGI and SC07

Microsoft HPC now ‘mainstream.’ IBM and SGI head the Top500 high performance computing list.

At the SPE ATCE last month, Schlumberger and Microsoft were showing off Windows Compute Cluster Server (WCCS) which is set to ‘eliminate, isolated hard to maintain Linux islands.’ Schlumberger showed how WCCS was used to run multiple Eclipse fluid flow models and geostatistics.


The solution targets small companies with a workgroup cluster of 8-32 CPUs serving a few engineers working in a Windows environment. Schlumberger’s experience is that the WCCS offers ‘similar performance to a Linux machine, at least for up to 8 processors*.’ Microsoft announced similar ‘HPC’ arrangements with CMG, Roxar and ScandPower. WCCS 2003 is 64 bit only so paradoxically, many developers are waiting on WCCS 2008 for its 32 bit capability. Microsoft unveiled WCCS 2008 at the Super Computing (SC07) show in Reno.


SC07 is also the venue for the release of the TOP500 list of supercomputers—the yardstick of HPC at least for information in the public domain. IBM Blue Gene machines got the N°1 and 2 slots, with SGI coming in an unexpected 3rd with a quad core Xeon-based Altix. On the operating system front, Linux’ domination of the Top 500 continues with an 85% share (Windows came in with 1%).

Supercomputing challenge

New at the show this year was the Cluster Challenge (sponsored by Chevron and Western Geco). Here university teams backed by cluster vendors were set the task of assembling a cluster running various benchmarks. The challenge was won by a team from the University of Alberta with a 64-core SGI Altix. More from www.top500.org and www.sc07.org.

* A lackluster cluster?

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