Posted Jul 20, 2006 14:36 UTC (Thu) by jschrod
In reply to: HPC computing
Parent article: Free Software Sets the Computing Agenda
HPC means not only to run FORTRAN / MPI programs, but also to run applications like LS-DYNA (car crash simulation), NASTRAN (wind tunnel simulation), and others. It also means support of proprietary/modern/fast interconnect technologies like Myrinet or Infiniband. (My company does consulting in this area.)
While Windows is very bad in this area, Linux is better, but not really good either. I have seen several Linux HPC cluster projects in the automotive industry that got abandoned, at different companies, because the admins there were not able to get the stuff in a stable state. And these were admins with several years of experience managing HPC clusters. (Mostly AIX or other Unices like HP-UX or Solaris.) I know of other Linux clusters that were well publicized in the press, but that did not fulfill their promise during production, mostly due to problems with stability and throughput.
While you can easily get a small system to work at home, a real Linux cluster with a few hundred or even a few thousand nodes, _fast_ Interconnect technology (i.e., *not* GB-Ethernet), and good SAN access (EMC powerpath in Linux, anyone?) that runs stable over an extended period in time is hard to get by. And stability is demanded by our customers, when the design of a new car depends on modelling jobs being computed over night, every night.
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