New SPEC MPI benchmark, Gordon Moore at IDF, and the Windows CCS vs. Linux discussion

In today's enterprise HPC news summary Intel announces that Gordon Moore will appear at IDF this fall, SPEC announces a new MPI application benchmark, there's time lapse video of the first customer install of Sun's Blackbox, and the HPC blogosphere lights up with a debate over Windows CCS versus *nix supercomputers.

Here’s a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from the recent enterprise HPC news stream as reported at

Time lapse of first customer Blackbox installation

Stanford’s SLAC group has posted a time lapse video of the installation of it’s Sun Blackbox, white as promised. (via Nick Carr’s blog.)

New SPEC MPI benchmark

The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) has just released a parallel systems benchmark based on MPI applications

SPEC MPI2007 provides performance metrics that can be used to compare different hardware architectures (SMP, NUMA, clusters) and interconnects, processors, memory hierarchy, compilers, and MPI implementations. It tests performance based on actual end-user applications, instead of synthetic workloads or parallelized versions of sequential benchmarks.

MPI2007 complements other HPC benchmarks already available from SPEC: HPC2002 and OMP2001 (details at SPEC’s website). (More on this HPC news item)

Gordon Moore to appear at IDF in September

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore will appear with Moira Gunn of NPR’s “Tech Nation” for an onstage talk about advances in computer technology over the past several decades at Intel’s upcoming Developer Forum, scheduled for Sept. 18-20, 2007 in San Francisco. (More on this HPC news item)

Windows CCS

There has a been an interesting conversation going on in HPC blog postings over the past several days around the viability of Windows CCS Server 2003 as an effective HPC operating system for the enterprise.

The article that started the discussion is over at Joe Landman at commented on this article (pro Linux), to which Dan Ciruli over at West Coast Grid responded (pro CCS). I jumped in at this point with this (essentially pro the idea of CCS, pro broader HPC adoption definitely), and an article at HPCwire. Joe offers a detailed analysis of (and disagrees with) my article here, and then goes on to detail some of the recent TCO studies comparing Windows and Linux installations on the grounds that TCO often enters this discussion as a reason for adopting CCS over Linux (hint: as Joe points out, the issue isn’t clear cut, and is one of the reasons that I haven’t mentioned it).

The conversation provides a background on some of the issues in this debate that some will find helpful.

John West summarizes the HPC news headlines every day at, and writes on leadership and career issues for technology professionals at InfoWorld. You can contact him at