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iSGTW Editorial - Snapshot of the future from the floor of SC07

Editorial - Snapshot of the future from the floor of SC07

Congratulations to the dedicated teams who have gathered at SC07 from universities and institutions across the globe to present their grid technologies to the rest of the cutting edge IT world.
Images courtesy of iSGTW and John Urish

Three hundred and fourteen exhibitors, more than 9000 attendees, over a billion dollars in equipment, and a collection of the world's fastest, newest, most innovative and futuristic information technologies: welcome to Supercomputing 2007.

Buzzing with discussions, demonstrations and the blaze of super-sized LCD screens, the exhibition floor is home to everyone who's anyone in high performance computing.

To one side of this massive mini-city is a fleet of undergraduate student teams, working around the clock in a race to build a cluster powerful enough to earn top billing in the inaugural SC07 Cluster Challenge.

Opposite these caffeine-fueled innovators are the Disruptive Technologies, a collection of futuristic technologies billed as having the potential to significantly redirect the course of high performance computing. Covering quantum computing, photonics, carbon nanotube memories and software for processors with more than 100 cores, these technologies aim to appear on desktops in the next five to 15 years.

And sharing this space with the Red Storms and Blue Genes are the academic and scientific grids, collaborations less interested in "biggest" or "fastest," and better defined by "most inclusive" or "broadest in scientific scope."

SC07's connectivity is provided by what is temporarily the world's most powerful network, created onsite by a team of volunteers using 48 miles of fiber and the latest in advanced equipment and technologies, donated by more than 56 institutions and companies. The total SCinet bandwidth weighs in at around 200 gigabits per second: 2000 times greater than the average home cable modem.
Images courtesy of Jerry Newton Photography

Looking beyond the immediate reality of SC07-the hectic schedule of sessions, workshops, challenges, demonstrations and speakers; the frenzied energy of gala martinis, disco-light lanyards and gigabyte bracelets-this supercomputing city represents an exciting and unique chance for the world's IT leaders to get together and share their enthusiasm for the future.

The increasing depth and strength of grid computing's contribution to high performance computing is apparent in the number of exhibitors who are involved in grid-related projects and activities: Enabling Grids for E-sciencE, Open Science Grid, Teragrid, GridPP, the National Grid Service, Open Grid Forum, AstroGrid, caGrid, DGrid, the Austrian Grid Initiative, NorduGrid, CancerGrid, DEISA and dozens of other universities, institutions and virtual organizations.

With an emphasis less on Linpack and more on facilitating access for all, academic grids have staked a strong claim in the computing arena. From physics and medicine to cinema and social science, the grid-enabled applications and technologies exhibited here at SC07 will provide thousands of researchers and scientists the opportunity to explore our world at an entirely new resolution, an opportunity that is already delivering world-changing scientific results.

So congratulations grid people: you do an extraordinary and important job. I look forward to hearing more of your achievements over the next year and on in to SC08 and beyond.

- Cristy Burne, iSGTW

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