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What A Super Computer!

Late last month, Silicon Graphics Inc., (SGI) said that it has a deal with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop and install a really super computer. The new monster computer will have 10,240 processors arranged in five "nodes." Each of the nodes will have an associated 2TB of memory that is shared by each of the processors simultaneously.

SGI says it's really a gonzo machine. With this super computer, NASA will be able to do theoretical studies that weren't available before, and it will also let other government agencies have time on the machine for their own high-performance computing requirements.

But if you're in the data center of a medium or large corporation, you are probably saying, "So what? How does this information help me keep my users happy, keep my email flowing, keep my databases online?"

While it might not, you ought to know about it nonetheless, because computing machines like this one, while they'll probably not become mainstream machines, have some capabilities that you might find in the enterprise at some point in the future.

Indeed, smaller versions of this mega monster have been sold to commercial enterprises for what might be called ordinary data-processing applications, although Jeff Greenwald, director of marketing for SGI's Server Group, says that the company prefers to concentrate on the high-performance computing arena.

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