ThurmSpeaks::From a Cluster of Calculators to Computer Clusters

This was posted to my AzCentral.com blog on 8 August 2008.

64 years ago yesterday (7 August 1944), Harvard and IBM announced the Mark I--the "world's greatest mathematical calculator." The Mark I was actually a cluster of calculators.

Fast forward to 2008...

At this year's LinuxWorld, IBM announced it is working with Novell and Red Hat to "deliver a bundled alternative to Microsoft's Windows." In other words, IBM wants the world using "Windows-Free PCs."

In addition, IBM "released its first certified package of open-source software for supercomputers based on Linux. The IBM HPC Open Software Stack is designed to make 'clusters' -- servers linked together to form a single super-fast system -- more productive and easier to manage."

A few months ago, IBM's Linux-based RoadRunner supercomputer did 1.026 quadrillion calculations in one second. 64 years ago, it could take the Mark I ten seconds to do just one division problem.

IBM has been supporting FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) for a decade and IBM's LinuxWorld announcements imply its support is getting stronger. This is excellent news for FLOSSers world-wide.

In 64 years we've gone from a cluster of a calculators to a cluster of computers. Hmmm... I wonder how long will it be before we're living with clusters of robots?

Creator: Gerald Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Created: 08 August 2008
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:15:49 MST

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.