Microsoft hires Cray's chief scientist for supercomputer drive


Microsoft hires Cray's chief scientist for supercomputer drive

Antony Savvas

Microsoft has hired the chief scientist of supercomputer manufacturer Cray as it steps up its attempts to carve out a niche in the growing business market for supercomputers.

Supercomputers have usually been the domain of universities and government research labs, but are these days increasingly in demand by large businesses wanting ever more computing power.

As part of its drive into the market, Microsoft has hired Cray’s Burton Smith, who will be joining the company in December.

At the Supercomputing 05 show in Seattle earlier in November, Microsoft unveiled the beta 2 version of Windows Compute Cluster 2003. The beta is a version of Microsoft’s server operating system equipped with additional job-scheduling tools for computing clusters.

It is expected that the Microsoft product will be launched as a commercial product for supercomputer users some time in 2006.

Smith’s pedigree in supercomputing is extensive. He was a founder of Tera Computer, where he was chief scientist from 1988. Tera bought Cray Research from Silicon Graphics in 2000 and renamed itself Cray.

Smith was the chief architect of Cray’s Multithreaded Architecture (MTA) system.

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