Microsoft Windows HPC Server Beta Looks To Tap Supercomputing Advances

Microsoft, in an effort to tap into that horsepower, has released betas for its Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 and a distributed version of its Office Excel spreadsheet application that supports parallel computing systems.

Microsoft said that combined with the recently released beta for Visual Studio 2010, which the company said simplifies development of parallel computing applications, the new beta software makes the processing power of supercomputing systems available to a wider range of users.

"Until now, the power of high-performance and parallel computing has largely been available to a limited subset of customers due to the complexity of environments and applications, as well as the challenges of parallel computing," said Vince Mendillo, senior director of high performance computing at Microsoft, in a statement. He said ISVs today are seeing performance improvements of 30 to 40 percent when running on HPC Server.

Microsoft said Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 will make it easier to build parallel computing applications that take advantage of multicore computing systems. And by supporting clustered computers, Office Excel 2010 can improve the performance of complex spreadsheets that can now calculate in a few hours what previously took weeks to run.

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As for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, Microsoft said the new operating system offers improved scalability, new configuration and deployment options, improved support for service-oriented architecture workloads, a new message-passing interface, and improved system management, diagnostics and reporting capabilities.

Last week, Cray Inc. debuted the Cray CX1-iWS computer, sold exclusively through Dell, that combines a Windows 7 workstation with a high-performance computing cluster running Windows HPC server 2008.