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Microsoft Breaks Into Top 10 of World’s Most Powerful Supercomputers


Today at the Supercomputing 2008 conference, Microsoft Corp. debuted in the top 10 of the world’s most powerful supercomputers with Shanghai Supercomputer Center and Dawning Information Industry Co. Ltd., which ranked at No. 10 with 180.6 teraflops, the parallel computing speed, and 77.5 percent efficiency. A truly incredible achievement considering that 12 months ago in Reno, Nevada, Microsoft was at 116 on the Top500 list at Top500.org. This is on the heels of Windows HPC Server 2008 releasing to the manufacturing industry in September.


Windows HPC Server 2008

Reduces costs and complexity of high-performance computing

Windows HPC Server 2008 makes supercomputing more accessible to end users by allowing them to harness computing power through a familiar Windows desktop environment. It also reduces the complexity of Top500 runs and increases efficiency. Microsoft announces the availability of the Top500 Excellence Kit, which includes a Top500 guide containing best practices and internal knowledge from Microsoft developers on how to achieve the highest-efficiency LINPACK runs. As a part of the kit, Microsoft is including several management and performance tools used in its 180.6-teraflop run, a High-Performance LINPACK (HPL) Wizard that automatically tunes HPL for your cluster environment. More information is available at http://windowshpc.net/Resources/Pages/Programs.aspx.


A broad platform for software vendors and an expanded playing field for hardware manufacturers

Microsoft and Cray Inc. teamed up in September with an announcement to drive high-productivity computing further into the mainstream in a broad array of markets with the Cray CX1 supercomputer. Now they’re giving one away! More information is available at http://www.superduosupersweeps.com/.


Deep investments in HPC and commitment to driving innovation

Parallelizing code is not easy given that programming languages, frameworks, developer tools, and even the majority of developers have grown up in a largely serial age. So the software development industry is taking strides to make parallelism more accessible to developers, and Microsoft is leading that charge. With Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft is delivering the first wave of powerful developer tools such as Task Parallel Library, Parallel LINQ and Coordination Data Structures for managed code to ease the transition to parallel code. These technologies, along with MPI, MPI.Net and Cluster-SOA, extend parallelism to clusters of thousands of nodes using Windows HPC Server 2008. More information on taking parallelism mainstream is available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/concurrency/default.aspx.


Cray CX1 Supercomputer with Windows HPC Server 2008 Starts at $25,000 and Provides ’’Ease-of-Everything’’ For New Users of HPC