August 02, 2004
Grid Computing
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Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor

by Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor
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Platform LSF License Scheduler optimizes the usage of all application licenses across Platform LSF clusters by allocating a virtualized pool of licenses to users based on an organization's established distribution policy.

From Sun Microsystem: “In the past, high-performance computing (HPC) was primarily the domain of supercomputers - dedicated, specialized number-crunching machines housed in a special environment. It was a monolithic system, complete with data storage, the compute power required to manipulate that data, and a way to extract the results of complex computations. ... Today, HPTC employs an architecture comprised of several tiers that replaces the supercomputers and workstations of yesteryears and brings an abundance of compute power to mainstream commercial markets. ...
Broadly speaking, the current HPTC environment is comprised of three building blocks - massive data storage and retrieval, fast throughput computation, and high-end rendering of results through visualization techniques. Now HPTC applications are being powered by a host of heterogeneous resources of varied configurations - large and small - scattered throughout a network and pooled together through virtualization for maximum utilization.

Essentially, grid computing is at the heart of today's HPTC environment. It makes data, compute, and visualization resources available to HPTC applications - wherever and whenever they're needed.”

Sun claims Mentor Graphics, Synopsys and Motorola as customers of its Grid Everywhere Initiative announced in November 2003.


The word fractal was coined by Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975. Fractals are geometric objects whose shape is irregular or fractured. The object appears to be the same at all scales of magnitude (self-similarity), i.e. looks the same no matter how far you zoom in. The objects reveal increasing details when magnified. The size of the object in terms of perimeter and area is indeterminate. Lastly, fractals are generated by a recursive or iterative process.

Mandelbrot's papers examined the issue of “How long is the coastline of Great Britain” raised by Lewis Richardson. The answer depends on the scale of measurement. The finer the instrument used to measure the coastline, the larger the answer. Examples of fractals are presented below.

Koch Snowflake: Start with a large equilateral triangle. Divide one side of the triangle into three equal parts and remove the middle section. Replace it with two lines the same length as the section you removed. Do this to all three sides of the triangle. You now have a star.

Repeat again and again.

Koch Snowflake

Sierpinski's Triangle starts as a triangle and every new iteration of it creates a triangle with the midpoints of the other triangles of it. The Sierpinski's Triangle has an infinite number of triangles in it.

The Mandelbrot set is a frcatal that is defined as the set of points c in the complex number (x+iy) plane for which the iteratively defined sequence

Mandelbrot Set


Last week I wrote an editorial on Intel. In it I recounted that the firm had some recent problems of missed schedules and design problems (company recalled some of its 915 G/P and 925X chipsets because of a flaw in the I/O controller that prevented some computers from starting normally at a cost of $34 million). On July 21st in an internal memo posted on the company's intranet CEO Craig Barrett wrote in part “There are many reasons for these product delays and manufacturing issues. In the end, the reasons don't matter because the result is less-satisfied customers and a less-successful Intel." and “Therefore, it is critical that everyone - beginning with senior management
but extending
to all of you - focus intensity on actions and attitudes that will continue Intel's strong record of technology leadership and customer satisfaction”

Separately, on July 28 AMD announced the availability of its Sempron processors, a new family of processors that redefine everyday computing for value-conscious buyers of desktop and notebook PCs. On average, this market can be characterized as users of desktop systems below $549 and notebook PCs below $999. The Semprons will all cost less than $126 and therefore less than the AMD Athlon XP and, in many cases, sell for less than Intel's low-price Celeron PC processor. Although the Sempron name (derived from the Latin word “semper,” for always) is new, the technology behind the chips is proven. Desktop Semprons will use the same basic underpinnings as desktop Athlon XP
processors, while
notebook Semprons will be based on mobile Athlon 64 processors but lack certain features, such as 64-bit addressing. All of the Sempron chips will run at slower clock speeds and have less cache than Athlon XP or mobile Athlon 64 chips.

Lenovo Group Ltd. is currently offering AMD Sempron processor-based desktop systems in China. Acer, Medion, Twinhead, HP and Compaq and many more OEMs and system builders are also expected to offer Sempron processor-based notebook and desktop systems in the second half of this year.

This gives AMD two brands: Athlon for the performance conscious market and Sempron for the value conscious market. The Athlon XP will likely be phased out. These brands will go head to head with Intel Pentium and Celeron. Intel commands nearly 83% of the PC microprocessor market with AMD a distant second at ~15%. However, AMD has been making inroads with its 64-bit chips that support 32-bit applications as discussed in earlier editorials.

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-- Jack Horgan, Contributing Editor.

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