[Beowulf] MS Cray

Lux, James P james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Sep 17 06:22:58 PDT 2008

On 9/16/08 11:49 PM, "Tim Cutts" <tjrc at sanger.ac.uk> wrote:

On 16 Sep 2008, at 11:07 pm, Lux, James P wrote:

> There is a huge psychological advantage to having the computer
> physically under your management and control.  You don't have folks
> trying to "optimize the use of a valuable institutional resource"
> with scheduling, etc.  You might be willing to tolerate a factor of
> 2 hit in performance for the ability to not have to account for
> anyone else about how much you're using or not using it.

And then they all expect the central systems support group to get it
running for them, and to fix it when it breaks, and to generally
maintain it.  Suddenly you have dozens of completely different systems
scattered far and wide across your site, and you're starting to get
complaints that the support group are unobtainable these days -
they're never at their desk any more, and don't seem to have any time
to build new stuff any more.


But how is that any different than having a PC on your desk?

I see the deskside supercomputer as a revisiting of the "workstation" class computer.  Used to be that PCs and Apples were what sat on most peoples desks, but some had Apollo or Sun or Perq workstations, because they had applications that needed the computational horsepower (or, more likely, the high res hardware graphics support.. A CGA was pretty painful for doing PC board layout).

Same sort of thing for having the old Tektronix 4014  graphics terminal, rather than hiking down to the computer center to pick up your flatbed plotter output.

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