The world's fastest computers are Linux computers: Computerworld cyber cynic Steven Vaughan-Nichols notes that Linux computers are the fastest ones in the world. He points to a Jay Lyman, analyst at The 451 Group, quote: "When considered as the primary OS or part of a mixed-OS supersystem, Linux is now present in 469 of the supercomputer sites, 93.8 percent of the Top500 list. This represents about 10 more sites than in November 2007 when Linux had presence in 91.8 percent of the systems. In fact, Linux is the only operating system that managed gains in the November 2008 list."
And Mr. Vaughan-Nichols take on the 10th place Windows HPC Server 2008 system on the latest Top500 list? He thinks "this was really more of a stunt than a demonstration ... You see, there are no Microsoft programming tools to write supercomputer compatible applications."
HPCs could "save the economy"
Beef up industrial by investing in the virtual infrastructure too: Computerworld's Patrick Thibodeau thinks that investing in HPC systems, making them more available to US businesses, could help make the US economy more stable and innovative. In 2007, US public and private sector spending on HPC systems only ranked about US$10b (while the government has spent US$150b keeping insurance company AIG afloat). He argues that the simulation abilities of HPC (Thibodeau likens it to "Second Life for engineers") can eliminate much of the R&D costs of a complex new product or process. He even mentions a pilot program between the Ohio Supercomputer Center and the Edison Welding Institute in which Edison makes a Web-based user interface available to welding engineers at its client firms so they can test a wide range of data related to the joining of various materials on an OSC supercomputer.
Linux: From "grazing to gorging" on the UNIX market
Is UNIX in a losing battle with Linux?: Datamation's Paul Rubens sort of echoes the first entry in this group -- that Linux is not only stealing UNIX's thunder in the server market, but has already conquered it in the compute-intensive realm of supercomputing. He recalls that 10 years ago, UNIX owned 497 of the Top500 (with Linux on a single system). By 2003, UNIX is still on top (with 289 systems) but Linux is coming from behind (184). And in the November 2008 list, Linux owns 439 and UNIX a paltry 23. (31 systems run a mix of the two.)