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Of Supercomputers, Microsoft and Sheryl Crow

Posted by: Peter Burrows on November 15, 2005

Want to know how bad Microsoft wants to reassert its role in the world of supercomputers? Although it just began participating in the 18-year-old SC/05 Supercomputer conference in 2003, Microsoft seems determined to make a splash at the research-oriented confab, which started today. For starters, chairman Bill Gates is giving the keynote speech. The company also has a prominent booth on the show floor—prominent enough to privately rankle some other vendors, who wonder whether the software giant unfairly threw its money around to win the coveted real estate (not true, says conference spokesperson Kathyrn Kelley; no other vendor had bid for the spot, she says, when Microsoft came along).

Why is Microsoft so interested? Because rather than an academic backwater, supercomputers and other high-performance computing technologies are increasingly being used by corporations to do sophisticated data-mining and run other business applications. And more often than not, designers of such systems are looking to Linux, when Windows might do the trick.

Gates isn’t the only starpower Microsoft will aim at the assembled techies. The company, with help from Intel, will spend nearly $1 million on a party tonight at the swank Experience Music Project building, says one source with knowledge about the event. That includes more than $300,000 to pay Sheryl Crow—easily the biggest act to ever hit the SC/05 post-conference party circuit.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Microsoft called after this post went up, to say that the bill for the party was well under $1 million, though he declined to provide a more accurate estimate. Hearing that, I tracked down another source that is familiar with the event, and this person also confirmed that the $1 million was significantly too high. Still, the general point stands. This was a top-shelf affair, by Supercomputer conference standards.

Reader Comments

Douglas Eadline

November 22, 2005 1:35 PM

I just posted an article about the Bill Gates talk and the Microsoft's HPC effort called
"Where is the Cluster? Microsoft HPC at SC05" on

Howard Page

February 2, 2007 1:59 PM

I recently added Comcast voip to my internet and cable tv package. I too experienced the problem with faxing. I read forums, blogs, had tech 'chats' online with HP as I have an HP Officejet 6110 All in One. The SOLUTION was something quite simple. The tech came to my home, checked the system, everything seemed ok, yet he read a 'short' in phone line connecting to the jack on the All in One. Oh, yes, there is a second line out of the All in One to the phone jack. He figured out that the cable supplied by Comcast is a typical 4 wire cord. My All in One doesn't have 4 wire connections. The extra two wires were reading enough of the voltage overflow to 'short' the system causing it to fail. He simply cut the ends off the phone line, peeled off two wires, connected the remaining two into new jacks, plugged them in and, yes it was amazing, it really worked.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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