Saturday, March 29, 2008

Private supercomputers

Despite the libertarian atmosphere of technology and the internet, it's undeniable that modern computers and indeed all science has been strongly influenced by the whims of governments. For centuries scientists have made killing machines for governments, and while they've discovered some incredible things, one can't help but wonder if they couldn't be working more efficiently – say, not on killing machines.

Supercomputers are still largely the provenance of government agencies, but recently a privately-owned supercomputer in India has become the fourth most powerful in the world. The company who owns it is CRL, a Tata outfit in Pune, India. Good to see that despite the funding lavished on governmental/quasi-governmental institutions like universities (public and "private") and research labs like Lawrence Livermore, private demand for this kind of computer power is strong enough to break through. It's also good to see India's reputation in technology coming to fruition, with high end projects like this that dwarf anything the private sector in America or Europe has to offer.

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