The fastest computers in the United States have
their work cut out.
Read the HPC tea leaves and see what the future of
high-performance computing holds in store.
The free availability, high reliability, and relative efficiency of Linux has
been a boon to computational science in the 1990s, and grows ever-popular with computational
scientists everywhere. Using Linux, scientists have been able to turn off-the-shelf personal
computers into effective UNIX workstations suitable for a number of tasks, including
number-crunching for scientific models. Beowulf-style cluster computing -- pioneered by Thomas
Sterling, Donald Becker, and others at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (http://www.beowulf.org)
-- has extended the utility of Linux to the realm of high performance parallel computing.
Additionally, the open source nature of Linux has allowed programmers to add features directly to
the operating system to meet the unique needs of cluster computing. A collection of these
enhancements is now distributed under the name Extreme Linux (http://www.extremelinux.org) -- "It's
Hot and It's Cool" -- by Red Hat Software, Inc. (http://www.redhat.com).