IBM and Sun tighten Solaris partnership, quantum computing takes another step forward, scientists claim speed of light violated

In today's enterprise HPC roundup IBM and Sun strengthen their Solaris relationship, researchers move the ball forward on inexpensive quantum computing, and German scientists announce a finding they claim proves the speed of light is not fixed where we thought it was.

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

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German scientists declare speed of light more of a guideline than a limit

I know it’s not HPC, but, c’mon. It’s the speed of light for crying out loud. Thought you’d want to know.

This from the DailyTech

According to modern physics, the speed of light is a fundamental, unbreakable limit. Yet two physicists are now claiming they have done just that, and propelled a stream of photons faster than the speed of light.

…The two scientists say they have now tunneled photons “instantaneously” across a distance of up to one meter.

The finding, though very controversial, is claimed by the scientists to be the only known violation of special relativity known at this time. To find out more about the results, click over to insideHPC.com.

IBM expands relationship with Sun

Sun and IBM announced yesterday that they have signed an agreement that makes IBM a Tier 1 partner on Solaris. They can OEM the OS and sell service. Here’s the deal

IBM and Sun today announced that IBM will distribute the Solaris Operating System (OS) and Solaris Subscriptions for select x86-based IBM System x servers and BladeCenter servers to clients through IBM’s routes to market.

This adds Solaris to the Windows and SUSE OS’s already supported on this IBM hardware. The agreement is an extension of the relationship that already exists between the two companies to support Solaris on BladeCenter servers.

During the conference call Jonathan Schwartz was asked how the relationship differs from the relationships Sun already has with companies like HP to sell Solaris. Schwartz answered that their relationship with HP is “arm’s length” in the sense that they cannot OEM the OS or sell service, both of which IBM will be doing via this agreement.

As part of the expanded support, Sun and IBM will invest in testing and system qualification so joint customers will realize Solaris’ leading performance and reliability on BladeCenter and System x servers. IBM servers that will support the Solaris OS include: IBM BladeCenter HS21 and LS41 servers; and IBM System x3650, System x3755, and System x3850 servers.

Reporters also asked about the future of Solaris on System P (frequently used in HPC applications). The answer from IBM was that there are no plans right now but it’s something they “would like to see happen.” Interesting.

Research moves forward in optical quantum computing

SC Online is carrying a story today about University of Michigan researchers who are moving the ball forward on optical quantum computing.

The researchers used short, coherent pulses of light to create light-matter interactions in quantum dots—particles so small that the addition or deletion of electrons changes their properties. They found they could control the frequency and phase shifts in the optical network, which is crucial in powering an optically driven quantum computer, [Duncan Steel, a professor at U Mich.] said.

Everyone is so interested in quantum computers because they multitask so effectively.

“Quantum computers are capable of massive parallel computations,” Steel said. “That’s why these machines are so fast.”

Bonus on this technology: it works with readily available optical telecom technology, and the quantum dots (which replace transistors in the computers of today) take only a few billionths of a watt to power.

The research is covered in depth in the article “Coherent Optical Spectroscopy of a Strongly Driven Quantum Dot,” which appears in the Aug. 17 issue of Science.

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

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