Silicon Graphics (SGI) put up $576 million in cash today for a majority stake in supercomputer vendor Cray Research. Silicon Graphics made a cash tender offer of $30 per share for roughly 19.2 million Cray shares, which constitutes about 75 percent of the outstanding Cray stock. After the initial tender offer, which is expected to begin this week, SGI will also exchange one share of its stock for each remaining Cray share. "The combination of Silicon Graphics and Cray Research will create the world's leading high-performance computing company," said Edward R. McCracken, chairman and CEO of SGI. The merger agreement weds Silicon Graphics' scalable very-high-performance computing and 3D technologies with Cray's renowned supercomputing know-how. SGI expects that know-how to help it expand the performance of its high-volume, low-cost desktops to the same level as Cray's supercomputers. The merged company will generate combined revenue of nearly $4 billion. Over the past 18 months, … [Read more...] about SGI buys supercomputer vendor Cray
Is there new life for a faded supercomputing star of the 1990s? Supercomputer behemoth Cray Research, acquired by SGI in 1996 and put up for sale last summer, is being bought by tiny supercomputer maker Tera Computer. Tera is betting its future on the acquisition and the combined companies' ability to take on the likes of IBM, which has recently souped up its supercomputing efforts. Tera also faces the challenge of digesting an operation significantly larger--125 employees vs. about 850 for Cray--and combating companies building supercomputers from PC parts. But Seattle, Wash.-based Tera also picks up valuable assets: the Cray name, three supercomputer lines and an installed base of 600 supercomputers, which translates to a total of 200 customers in 30 countries. The selection of Tera marks a change in strategy from September, when SGI said it had selected a financial partner to help set Cray up on its own. Apparently that plan didn't work out. SGI spokesman Steve Conway … [Read more...] about Supercomputer maker to buy Cray, change name
There's a race to build the first supercomputer to cross the "exascale" performance threshold, and the United States on Monday detailed its contender, a $500 million Intel-powered system called Aurora.The sprawling system, to be built at the Energy Department's Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, and when it's ready in 2021 will perform a quintillion calculations per second, a level called 1 exaflops. That's five times faster than the current record holder, the IBM-built Summit supercomputer at the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and eight times faster than the No. 2 machine, a close cousin called Sierra at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.Those two systems have reclaimed the top spots on the Top500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers from China. But China remains a surging force in supercomputing. A total of 227 of the Top500 machines are in China, compared with an all-time low of 109 for the US on the most recent list, which was released in November. And … [Read more...] about Meet Aurora, the US entrant in the global exascale supercomputer race
God and science co-exist? In many people, the two get along well. ©iStockphoto/david5962 Humans have debated the significance of God and science for centuries. To name just one example, they've battled over whether to teach creationism alongside or in place of evolution in U.S. public schools. People have taken sides; believers of science stand firmly on one side and followers of a higher power stay on the other. Yet, those on both sides might be surprised to learn that they can float between sides -- or switch teams entirely. In his 2002 book, "Rock of Ages," paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould argued that religion and science can co-exist because they occupy two separate spheres of the human experience. Gould uses a term he previously coined, non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA), which is the concept that both religion and science have the authority to teach their respective dogma [source: Gould]. According to Gould, science and God are inherently divided and thus can easily … [Read more...] about Can God and science co-exist?
That tiny implantable system allows human metabolism to be monitored, and it was developed by the Polytechnic school in Lausanne, Switzerland. The implant has five biosensors, which measure the density of various molecules. © Amelie-Benoist/BSIP/Corbis In the 1960s sci-fi flick "Fantastic Voyage," a submarine containing a surgical team was miniaturized and injected into the bloodstream of a patient so the surgeons could perform a delicate operation to save his life. Wouldn't it be great if doctors could shrink themselves and get inside you for real? Or what if they could send in swarms of microscopic medical robots to repair damaged organs and deliver anti-cancer medication directly to tumors? This tiny dream team made of surgical nanobots is an idea that we've been hearing about for so long that you might be wondering why they're not already cleaning out your arteries. In 2000, an article in Popular Science predicted that scientists would soon be mass-producing health care … [Read more...] about Will nanobots perform surgery in the future?