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SGI and Bull: a good summer spat, and a question of integrity

When the temperature rises tempers flare, and we’re kicking off the summer season of cat fighting with a spat between Bull and SGI.

This week Bull announced the installation of a 20 TFLOPS super based on Intel quad Xeons, and refers to the installation in their press release as

Bull logoThe computer is one of the first major systems in a UK university to use Intel Xeon Quad-core processors, with four cores to each chip.

Note the phrase “one of the first.” This is not the original press release which, thanks to the Google cache, we know says

The computer is the first major system in a UK university to use Intel Xeon Quad-core processors, with four cores to each chip.

The original release is incorrect. SGI’s system at Exeter, announced in Sep of last year, was certainly earlier and may have been the first Intel quad core Xeon in Europe. That system looks to have been a 128 core system, which I think would clock it in around 1.5 TFLOPS.

Lots of news outlets ran with the first version of the press release (c.f. the Google cache of the original story on Cardiff’s own web site and the current version which has been fixed), including your very own insideHPC.com which sourced yet another site (here) on its story.

Of course I found out about this because Emily Gallagher of Portfolio Communications emailed me to let me know (it was a nice note, very professional). Yes, SGI is on Portfolio’s client list. Emily’s note has some added info, pasted in for your easy reading

SGI logoSilicon Graphics (SGI) disputes claims made by Bull Information Systems regarding its installation at Cardiff University as being the ‘First major system in a UK university to use Intel(r) Xeon(r) Quad-core processors, with four cores to each chip’. In fact SGI believes that its installation at the University of Exeter, which was announced in September 2007, is.

Julie Cumberland, SGI, explains: “SGI launched its high performance blade system SGI Altix ICE in June last year and it is already being used globally by customers such as Honda and The State of New Mexico and National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton. (http://www.sgi.com/company_info/newsroom/press_releases/2007/september/exeter.html)

“SGI’s new third-generation water-cooled Altix ICE platform is designed to optimise power and cooling efficiency in data centres. The aptly named ICE servers not only increase energy efficiency, but can be up and running in an astounding 48 hours”

Eh, people get enthusiastic and make mistakes. What bothers me most is that on the sites I checked (including Bull and Cardiff) no one who corrected the story (a good thing) made a note that the story had been corrected (a bad thing). You cannot find any evidence on the stories now live on the interwebs at the same URLs as the original and incorrect stories that a single sentence, or in some cases a few words in a single sentence, has been changed. Mistakes should be forgiven, but not wiped from existence (this last bit is the “integrity” part of the post, in case you missed it).

Comments

  1. Well done! Thanks.

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