In this video from the recent HPC Financial Markets show, Bill Hilf, General Manager, Microsoft Technical Computing presents on “Pushing through the Inflection Point with Technical Computing.” Microsoft used the Wall Street event to launch Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, and Bill devotes most of his talk to that product starting about 23 minutes in.
After the event, I had a chance to talk to Bill Hilf and Josh Kunken, System Developer at the The Scripps Research Institute. The result of this conversation was quite a revelation on my part.
At Scripps, data from clinical trials and other cancer research projects is collected in massively large Excel spreadsheets. Windows HPC Server gives them scalable computational resources to manipulate these spreadsheets, so no other operating system would do. Wall Street has similar requirements for their big spreadsheets.
You see, this is where I think Windows HPC is misunderstood by the Beowulf crowd. Microsoft doesn’t want to replace the Linux kernel in the TOP500 — they want to broaden the reach of HPC for the Missing Middle of potential HPC users that make up the rest of the TOP5000 (if there was such thing).