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Wall Street’s Interest for HPC Grows

It’s been a while since I posted about Windows CCS (the high-performance computing edition of Windows Server 2003). Just because I’ve been radio silent, doesn’t mean others have been. In fact, we launched a new Web site geared toward the industries like financial services, manufacturing, oil & gas, geo sciences and life sciences. And if you truly want to stay updated on Microsoft’s HPC news, Ken does a good of tracking the news at his site.

That said, today we published results of a Microsoft-sponsored survey on capital markets firms (154 qualified high-performance computing users) growing use/need of high-performance computing. Here’s excerpts from the survey:

The online survey was conducted in June 2007 and includes responses from high-performance computing users in the capital markets industry. Significant findings include these:

  • 45% of respondents reported that customer demand is currently driving the growth of their firm’s high-performance computing needs.
  • 24% of respondents reported that they plan on increasing the capacity of their high-performance computing environments by 1,000 nodes or more in the next 12 to 18 months.
  • 47% reported that performance is the most important factor when purchasing an operating system to run high-performance computing applications.
  • 83% are considering a Microsoft high-performance computing solution for their next appropriate project.
  • 62% report that Microsoft Office Excel is the most widely used application in their high-performance computing environment.
  • 60% are currently using a 64-bit operating system to run their high-performance computing projects.
  • 63% report that they deploy their high-performance computing environments as a centralized or shared utility.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a few customers from banks and Cap Market firms as they kicked the tires of Windows CCS. We had very interesting discussions about using hypervisors to further utilize HPC nodes, and creating mesh networks with multi-core procs and MPI. Much of the conversation reminded me of Burton Smith’s Q&A in HPCwire. They’re re-investing computing from the programming processor/FPGA upward. Aside from the tech talk, what caught my attention is that these folks aren’t scientists, engineers or researchers. They’re evangelists and IT pros who have immersed themselves into the world of parallel computing and large-scale computing without looking back. Very cool stuff!