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Archive for June, 2008

Nokia’s Symbian Deal Rewrites The Smartphone Rules

Posted by answersplease on June 30, 2008

Nokia’s plan to make the mobile OS open source is sure to affect businesses that want to push more apps onto smartphones, and it could influence the role of open source software in general.


The goal is the world's most-used software, Forsyth says

The goal is the world’s most-used software, Forsyth says

Symbian, the most popular smartphone mobile operating system worldwide, is going open source, part of a struggle between hardware and software companies for influence in a critical industry segment. The move is sure to affect businesses exploring ways to push more applications onto smartphones, and it could influence the role of open source software generally.

Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, is driving the plan. Already a 48% stakeholder in Symbian Ltd., Nokia is buying the company’s remaining shares for $410 million and pledges to make Symbian open source under the royalty-free Eclipse Public License. Symbian’s development–including continued twice-a-year new releases–will be guided by a foundation supported by an alliance of mobile device manufacturers, chipmakers, and carriers.

For businesses, the move raises several critical issues. On the upside, it’s possible companies will wind up with cheaper phones–the Symbian OS today costs manufacturers about $4, while Microsoft charges about $15 for Windows Mobile per phone. A free mobile OS could ramp up price competition. On the downside, IT departments could face a tougher battle trying to contain the number of smartphone platforms they’re asked to support, if open source leads to more variations of the Symbian OS.

Perhaps more important to businesses is whether an open source Symbian leads to more applications and faster innovation for smartphones, at a time when companies are exploring whether and how to push more tasks through ever-more-powerful smartphones. By 2010, when Symbian goes open source, the evolving mobile development community will gain deeper access to Symbian and, in theory, be able to create more compelling applications.

“What it really means is that we’re at an early stage of a full-scale war for becoming the next development platform for mobile devices,” says Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, which guides Linux development by employing key developers and setting standards.

The goal of Nokia and its allies is clear. “We want to make this the most widely used software platform on the planet,” says John Forsyth, Symbian’s VP for strategy. The new alliance, called the Symbian Foundation, includes Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, AT&T, and Vodafone. Those companies likely won’t give up their use or support of other mobile operating systems such as Windows Mobile, but Nokia’s move puts new pressures on Symbian’s competitors.

Smartphones are the industry’s plum growth market, and Symbian commanded 67% of the worldwide market share last year, according to research firm Canalys. However, Symbian has less than 10% share in the United States, where Research In Motion, Microsoft, and now Apple set the agenda. It also has just 6% of the market for lower-end phones. Among the major U.S. carriers, only AT&T even offers any Symbian devices, while Sprint, Verizon, and Alltel can’t even offer them since theirs aren’t GSM networks.

In banding together, handset makers are making it clear that they don’t want a repeat of the PC industry handing over their destiny to American software makers, where Microsoft and recently Google, with its plans for an open source Android operating system, look formidable. In addition, given broad membership that encompasses chipmakers as well as handset producers, the alliance could solve thorny standards issues that often result in incompatibilities between networks and devices.

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Top 500 supercomputers: Welcome to the petaflop generation

Posted by answersplease on June 19, 2008

Welcome to the petaflop generation. That was the message today as the new most powerful supercomputer in the world IBM’s $100,000 million Roadrunner system installed at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory was officially named the most powerful and energy efficient supercomputer in the world.

TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers was unveiled at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden and proclaimed that Roadrunner achieved performance of 1.026 petaflop/s-becoming the first supercomputer ever to reach that performance milestone. At the same time, Roadrunner is also one of the most energy efficient systems on the TOP500.


Take a closer look at IBM’s Roadrunner, the world’s fastest supercomputer


Rounding out the top five positions, all of which are in the US are the new IBM BlueGene/P (450.3 teraflop/s) at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, the new Sun SunBlade x6420 “Ranger” system (326 teraflop/s) at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas – Austin, and the upgraded Cray XT4 “Jaguar” (205 teraflop/s) at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The No. 6 system is the top system outside the US, installed in Germany at the Forschungszentrum Juelich. It is an IBM BlueGene/P system and was measured at 180 Tflop/s. The No. 7 system is installed at a new center, the New Mexico Computing Applications Center in Rio Rancho, NM. It is built by SGI and based on the Altix ICE 8200 model. It was measured at 133.2 Tflop/s. The Computational Research Laboratories, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd. in Pune, India, installed a Hewlett-Packard Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c system. They integrated this system with their own routing technology and achieved a performance of 132.8 Tflop/s which was sufficient for No. 8, the survey noted. The No. 9 system is a new BlueGene/P system installed at the Institut du D̩veloppement et des Ressources en Informatique Scientifique (IDRIS) in France, which was measured at 112.5 Tflop/s. The last new system in the TOP10 Рat No. 10 Рis also an SGI Altix ICE 8200 system. It is the biggest system installed at an industrial customer, Total Exploration Production. It was ranked based on a Linpack performance of 106.1 Tflop/s, according to TOP500.

Among all systems, Intel continues to grow, with Intel processors now found in 75% of the TOP500 supercomputers, up from 70.8 % of the 30th list released last November. The US leads the world in supercomputer systems with 257 of the top 500.

The European share (184 systems – up from 149) is still rising and is again larger then the Asian share (48 – down from 58 systems). Dominant countries in Asia are Japan with 22 systems (up from 20), China with 12 systems (up from 10), India with 6 systems (down from 9), and Taiwan with 3 (down from 11), according to the survey. In Europe, UK remains the No. 1 with 53 systems (48 six months ago). Germany improved but is still in the No. 2 spot with 46 systems (31 six months ago), the survey found.

The group notes a number of other features from the survey:

* Quad-core processor based systems have taken over the TOP500 quite rapidly. Already 283 systems are using them. Two hundred three systems are using dual-core processors, only eleven systems still use single core processors, and three systems use IBM’s advanced Sony PlayStation 3 processor with 9 cores.

* The top industrial customer, at No. 10, is the French oil company: Total Exploration Production.

* IBM held on to its lead in systems with 210 systems (42%) over Hewlett Packard with 183 systems (36.6%). IBM had 232 systems (46.4%) six months ago, compared to HP with 166 systems (33.2%).

* IBM remains the clear leader in the TOP500 list in performance with 48 percent of installed total performance (up from 45), compared to HP with 22.4% (down from 23.9). In the system category Dell, SGI and Cray follow with 5.4 , 4.4 and 3.2 % respectively.

* The last system on the list would have been listed at position 200 in the previous TOP500 just six months ago. This is the largest turnover rate in the 16-year history of the TOP500 project.

With this survey, its 31st since 1993, the TOP500 began measuring computer efficiency as well. The TOP500 most energy efficient supercomputers are:

* IBM QS22 Cell processor blades (up to 488 Mflop/s/Watt)

* IBM BlueGene/P systems (up to 376 Mflop/s/Watt)

* Intel Harpertown quad-core blades are catching up fast

* IBM BladeCenter HS21with low-power processors (up to 265 Mflop/s/Watt)

* SGI Altix ICE 8200EX Xeon quad-core nodes, (up to 240 Mflop/s/Watt)

* Hewlett-Packard Cluster Platform 3000 BL2x220 with double density blades (up to 227 Mflop/s/Watt)

* These systems are already ahead of BlueGene/L (up to 210 Mflop/s/Watt).

* The average power consumption of a TOP10 system is 1.32 Mwatt and average power efficiency is 248 Mflop/s/Watt.

* The average power consumption of a TOP50 system is 908 Kwatt and average power efficiency is 193 Mflop/s/Watt.

* The average Power consumption of a TOP500 system is 257 Mwatt and average power efficiency is 122 Mflop/s/Watt.

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