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6/9/2006
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Microsoft Launches Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003

Targeting high-performance computing applications, the software aims to bring technical computing to the masses.

Delivering on its promise to strengthen its high performance computing (HPC) offerings, Microsoft Friday released its Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. The software is Microsoft's first to run parallel HPC applications aimed at users working on complex computations.

The new software, which Microsoft said has already been successfully used by several customers, fulfills a promise made by the firm's chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates at last fall's Supercomputing conference.

"High-performance computing technology holds great potential for expanding opportunities within engineering, medical research, exploration, and other critical human endeavors, but until now it has been too expensive and too difficult for many people to use effectively," said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the firm's Server and Tools Business unit, in a statement.

Piggybacking on the Microsoft announcement Friday was technical computing software provider MathWorks, which said its flagship products will support the Microsoft HPC offering. MathWorks said its Distributed Computing Toolbox (DCT), which extends the firm's MATLAB family, will bring high performance computing to the personal and workgroup level.

MathWorks noted that DCT contains support for third-party schedulers like Microsoft's Job Scheduler as well as Platform Computing's Platform LSF. Together they enable users to integrate MathWorks distributed computing tools into their various computing applications.

Microsoft said Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 in combination, for instance, with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, enables users to reach more engineers working in mainstream HPC applications. The firm, which has been building HPC expertise http://www.techweb.com/wire/ebiz/174402103 in recent months, observed that it has launched a multiyear multimillion-dollar investment at academic institutions to innovate in addressing challenging technical computing problems.

To illustrate its seriousness in the field, Microsoft released a list of partners and users in its HPC effort. Hardware partners run the gamut from AMD, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, Mellanox, NEC, and Schlumberger while leading HPC software providers are also partnered with Microsoft.

The software colossus also released a list of customers committed to using Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. Many are focused on oil and gas reservoir simulation and seismic processing while others are centered on vehicle design and computational biology and bioinformatics.

Microsoft is jumping into high performance computing as the field is enjoying new robust growth. Market research firm IDC recently reported that the high performance and technical computing market grew 24 percent last year and is poised to continue rapid growth.

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