Some 20 years ago, the Attack of the Killer Micros was a big concern to us folks in Chippewa Falls. Could clusters of workstations possibly be a threat to the market for big iron systems? Well, the world changed, the layoffs came, and Cray Research surrendered to acquisition in 1996.
It’s funny how old ideas get new again. This week Intel unveiled their “cube clustered computing” concept, an internal pilot program to show that workstations can be clustered together to provide HPC levels of compute power.
So who is cube clustered computing for? That’s where the new part comes in. Intel is seeding a meme called the “missing middle,” which refers to businesses who have tough computational challenges to solve but don’t have the money or access to HPC. According to slides I saw this week at the HPC User Forum, research indicates that there are 150,000 such businesses in the U.S. alone.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about the missing middle. Think of it as an opportunistic marriage where Something Old, Something New, and Something Borrowed turns into Something Green.