Linux and High-Performance Computing
High-performance computing (HPC) has moved from the domain of government and academic laboratories to being an essential component of the design process. Today, it is almost unthinkable to develop the key components of a car, airplane or even many consumer products without computer-assisted structural or impact analysis.
Much of the credit for this can be given to the introduction, about six years ago, of high-performance, open-source Linux clusters in place of proprietary UNIX systems. These Linux supercomputers delivered dramatically lower costs, thereby enabling a wider market to take advantage of high-performance computing.
With the introduction of Windows Compute Cluster Server, it is natural for many to question whether the tremendous price advantage of Linux and open systems still outweighs all other considerations. The truth is while UNIX still has a fairly healthy legacy install base and Windows provides some advantages at a very entry level, Linux remains not only the most viable solution for most design engineers, but is actually more attractive than ever.
There are several reasons for this.