Masters said he believes there is renewed interest in U.S. leadership of high-performance computing, with its critical roles in research and industry as well as defense. "Government interest was heightened when Japan brought on the Earth Simulator as the most powerful computer in the world," he said. "The view inside defense, intelligence and industry is that for national security, the U.S. must maintain computational superiorityits part of our historical advantage."Masters stressed Suns intention that Solaris will coexist with Linux in every way that meets its customers needs. "Were doing Linux with Solaris extensions, and were [offering] Solaris with Linux extensions that make us as compatible as moving from Red Hat to SuSEor even moving from one version of Red Hat to another," he said. "And applications today are at another level of abstraction, the application server or Java. More use of Linux on Opteron is just a growth opportunity for Sun, as opposed to eroding our strength." The Rocks work begins with a Red Hat Inc. Red Hat Linux foundation, which Masters called a "customer choice" for loosely coupled parallel processing applications. Rocks lets administrators define a collection of roles, said Rocks team member Greg Bruno. "We want to make clusters easy," Bruno added. Bruno and his colleagues have their eye on the combined power of all registered Rocks sites, now nearing 40 teraflopsthats the throughput of the Earth Simulator, which the growing worldwide aggregate of Rocks clusters will soon exceed. Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part of that strength, Masters was quick to add, is in the vigor of open-source efforts. "The No. 1 contributor to open source on the planet is [the University of California,] Berkeley, and the No. 2 contributor is Sun," he said. "We have [made] a lot of our code open, and all the stuff with OpenOffice.org and all those sorts of things. Were going to bring that power to the Linux community."