Last week, Penguin Computing™ had the honor of being inducted into the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame alongside the Beowulf Computing Cluster, Thomas Sterling, James Fischer and the Goddard Space Flight Center. The event was held in Colorado Springs. The awards are designed to recognize the life-changing technologies that have emerged from global space programs, and educate the public on the importance of these technologies, including as an additional return on investment for space exploration.
“It was an honor to attend the 37th annual Space Symposium to represent Penguin Computing as we were inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame,” said Sid Mair, President of Penguin Computing. “Through the commercialization of the Beowulf cluster and Penguin Computing’s Scyld Clusterware, we have changed the face of technical computing for generations to come.”
The original intention of the Beowulf cluster was to create a cost effective, high performance computing (HPC) solution for individual research scientists to conduct data analytics on experimental data coming in from satellites and for simulation of earth and space related physics problems. Machines that could do these calculations were few in number and very expensive. The team was looking to lower the cost of simulation by using commodity hardware and “off the shelf” components to deliver similar performance at lower cost.
Today, nearly every supercomputer in the Top500 is a Beowulf-style cluster of commodity nodes running Linux. As of June 2021, seven of these supercomputers are run on Penguin Computing technology. These machines are doing COVID-19 research, virtual crash testing of automobiles, operations research, “the cloud,” and so much more. Nearly every field of computing is now driven by the idea of scaling “out” over large numbers of “common” computers rather than building ever larger “single systems” like the mainframe and supercomputers that preceded this technology.
The technology has been successfully in use for more than 25 years and has democratized high performance computing across the industry. Beowulf enabled a vast number of people across industry, government, and academia to take control and bring HPC to their communities and Scyld and Penguin Computing successfully commercialized this technology for generations to come. In 2020, Penguin Computing joined forces with AMD to provide research institutions with free access to high performance computing capabilities to accelerate medical research on COVID-19 and other diseases.