Computers and heat density

Sean Conner spc at
Sun Aug 13 22:42:11 CDT 2006

It was thus said that the Great Patrick Finnegan once stated:
> While at work, we might use a cluster of a hundred or so Dell machines to 
> replace what was done by a single PDP-11 or VAX 11/780 in the late 70s/early 
> 80s, with the stuff we do, we goet a lot faster turnaround on jobs, and the 
> jobs have increased in complexity (and usefulness) exponentially along with 
> the CPU horsepower.  In fact, there's people who are talking about (and a few 
> acutally doing it now) using GPUs on video cards to do some amount of useful 
> work.

  GPUs do pretty much nothing but vector operations on large data sets.  So
if your problem matches that domain, you can use a GPS, thus leaving the CPU
to tackle other problems.
> In fact, another difference between now and 20 years ago, is that we used to 
> be a 8-5, M-F shop, with users only being able to use our systems for a 
> subset of 24 hours per day.  Now, we have to keep everything running 7x24, or 
> users start complaining - and with some code that runs for as long as 30 days 
> at a time (720 hour jobs) across a whole bunch of systems, even a single 
> weekly (or monthly) fixed downtime period isn't acceptable to our users.

  Google could make a killing licensing their GoogleOS (or parts thereof). 
They manage to use off-the-shelf PCs (and not even the fastest ones) as plug
in replacements for their operations.  The technology of the software is
very impressive.

  -spc (But I suspect this is getting to be a bit off topic ...)

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