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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-06-23 Print this article Print

Over the past few years Microsoft has invested in HPC clusters through partnerships with Cornell Theory Center and hardware makers to provide customers with the opportunity to take advantage of Cornells consulting/workshops to aid HPC application, development and deployment. Dave Lifka, chief technology officer for the Cornell Theory Center, an interdisciplinary research center at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., runs 1,000 servers and migrated from Unix to Windows in 2000. He is excited about the advances Longhorn, the next version of Windows, will bring on this front.
"We are excited about all the things in Longhorn. The environment keeps getting richer and more integrated," he said. "We chose Windows because we wanted to make it easier for our users to have access to HPC. "We wanted our users to have an integrated development and security environment so that when they developed code, they were integrated in, and there wasnt any porting or modifying involved," Lifka told eWEEK recently. "Things like Visual Studio .Net, .Net and Longhorn make a big difference, and our push for Windows has worked out well," he said. But other customers, like Brian Riley, senior programmer and analyst at a large U.S. health care services company, has no interest in an HPC offering from Microsoft. "Microsoft would like to gain some ground back from Linux [and Unix] in that department," he said. "But given Microsofts track record with security, do you really want the guy with the Excel spreadsheet being able to take over the operating system on your Cray [supercomputer]? I didnt think so." Many Microsoft customers have, however, already successfully built and deployed Windows Server-based HPC clusters, and Microsoft sees this usage growing over time. In addition to the Cornell Theory Center, examples of HPC Windows Server deployments include the following:
  • Rosetta Genomics Ltd., a startup performing genomic-data-analysis;
  • Perlegen Sciences Inc., a company that uncovers genetic variations in diseases and clinical trials of medicines; and
  •, a prototype astronomical survey database. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

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    Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

    He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

    He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

    He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

    He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

    He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

    His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

    For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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