HP Offers Open-Source Code

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SAN FRANCISCO--Hewlett-Packard is releasing to the open source community the computer code for a software programming interface that helps manage large data sets in high performance computing environments.

HP is announcing at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, starting here today, that it's sharing the code for its High-Performance Computing (HPC) Parallel Compositing Library, a tool to help researchers access unused computing power in their data centers to "visualize complex data sets," said Doug Small, marketing director for Linux and open source at HP.

Pair PCs for Power

Parallel Compositing is an application programming interface developed by HP in collaboration with universities and other industry experts. Its purpose is to combine the unused graphics card capacity of a number of high-performance computers working together in a cluster to simplify the data sets created by computer simulations and other large data sets in such fields as pharmaceuticals, seismology, and medicine, said Small.

"One of the challenges in high-performance computing is visualizing the data sets, getting the horsepower to accomplish that," he said. "With parallel compositing, we're breaking up the work across all those [graphics cards] to use the processing power to work on the visualization of the data."

One user of the technology, cancer research center MD Anderson, spent $2.2 million with HP for a Linux-based HPC that uses Parellel Compositing for computer modeling and other research in bioinformatics, epidemiology and radiation treatments, Small said. HP, which touts Parallel Compositing as a cost-effective approach, is releasing the code to spur technology development around it.

Grid Expands to Linux

Also coinciding with LinuxWorld, HP says it is expanding its pay-per-use grid computing service to Linux-based systems. It already supports Unix and Windows operating systems. Under pay-per-use pricing, customers can tap into a grid of HP Integrity model servers to gain access to additional computing power if they have an unexpected spike in demand. They disconnect from the grid when levels return to normal and so only have to pay for that extra power as they need it.

These and other developments only add to the impact open source has had on the technology marketplace, said Alanna Dwyer, cluster marketing manager for high-performance computing at HP.

"The ability and accessibility of [open source] technology has caused an explosion of innovation and it's huge...and there's going to be more of that," Dwyer said.

LinuxWorld is being combined with another technology conference called the Next-Generation Data Center, which is dedicated to reducing energy use in computing systems. Both run through Thursday.

(Both conferences are produced by IDG World Expo, which, like IDG News Service, is owned by International Data Group.)

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