Linux is #1 in Supercomputing!

One place where Linux is definitely number one, and Microsoft is way down in the pack… is in the rarefied air of supercomputing! Our old buddy, Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols has a great article about this in Computerworld:

Where Windows is #2 to Linux

“Microsoft encourages us to think of Linux, when we think of it as all, as an also-ran operating systems for nerds. The last thing Microsoft wants us to think about is that there are some spaces where Microsoft is a distant number two and Linux is on top. Too bad Microsoft, there are several such places. One such is HPC (High Performance Computing). At HPC’s very highest end, supercomputers, Linux rules. The first computer to bust the petaflop, 1.0 quadrillion calculations per second, barrier? IBM’s Roadrunner supercomputer running Linux. Out of the Top 500 supercomputers in the world, over 80% of them are running Linux. Better still, Linux manages to pull this off by largely using off-the-shelf components unlike the supercomputers of years gone by. Instead of specialized hardware, the Roadrunner uses AMD Opteron and Sony, Toshiba and IBM’s Cell processors. Yes, that’s the same Cell CPU that’s inside your Sony PlayStation 3. Linux has been making the most from the least in supercomputing since 1994, when Thomas Sterling and Don Becker, at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s CESDIS (Center of Excellence in Space Data and Information Sciences) created the first Beowulf Linux-powered clustered supercomputer. That first system, which was made up of 16 486-DX4 processors connected by channel bonded Ethernet, proved you could deliver supercomputing performance with COTS (Commodity off the Shelf) based systems. I’ve always regretted that I had left Goddard several years earlier so I never had a chance to get my name into a footnote of supercomputing and Linux history. HPC’s real bread and butter isn’t supercomputers though. It’s managing, or trying to manage the madness that is the financial markets. Wall Street runs on Linux. Almost all the major financial markets rely, to one extent or another, on Linux.”

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