2/6/2008

IBM explores 67.1m-core computer for running entire internet

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

We’ll hand it to IBM’s researchers. They think big - really big. Like holy-crap-what-have-you-done big.

The Register has unearthed a research paper that shows IBM working on a computing system capable “of hosting the entire internet as an application.” This mega system relies on a re-tooled version of IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputers so loved by the high performance computing crowd. IBM’s researchers have proposed tweaking the Blue Gene systems to run today’s most popular web applications such as Linux, Apache, MySQL and Ruby on Rails.

The IBM paper rightly points out that both large SMP (symmetric multi-processing) systems and clusters have their merits for massive computing tasks. Of late, however, most organizations looking to crunch through really big jobs have preferred clusters, which provide certain economic advantages. Customers can buy lots of general purpose hardware and networking components at a low cost and cobble the systems together to equal or surpass the performance of gigantic SMPs.

Sun Microsystems, Amazon.com, Google and Microsoft stand as just some of the companies using these clusters to offer software, processing power and storage to other businesses. Their customers tap into these larger systems and can “grow” their applications as needed by firing up more and more of the provided computing infrastructure.

But there are a few problems with this approach, including the amount of space and energy the clusters require. So, IBM wants to angle Blue Gene boxes at the web software jobs, believing it can run numerous applications on a single box at a lower cost than a cluster.

“We hypothesize that for a large class of web-scale workloads the Blue Gene/P platform is an order of magnitude more efficient to purchase and operate than the commodity clusters in use today,” the IBM researchers wrote.

Under a project code-named ‘Kittyhawk,’ IBM has started running new types of applications on Blue Gene. For example, it has run the SpecJBB benchmark for testing Java performance and the LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL Perl/Phython) software, finding comparable performance to today’s clusters.

Warner, Universal take action against Baidu

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Three global record companies have launched legal proceedings against China’s top Internet search engine Baidu.com Inc, accusing it of violating copyright by giving access to music files, an international music trade body said.

Universal Music Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Ltd and Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd have asked a court to order Baidu to remove all links on its music delivery service to copyright-infringing tracks that they own the rights to, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said in a statement.

Japanese study clears mobiles of brain cancer risk

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Using a mobile phone does not increase your risk of brain cancer, according to a new Japanese study that is the first to consider the effects of radiation on different parts of the brain.

The finding adds to the growing body of evidence that mobile phones are safe.

Scientists at Tokyo Women’s Medical University compared phone use in 322 brain cancer patients with 683 healthy people and found that regularly using a mobile did not significantly affect the likelihood of getting brain cancer.

They also studied the radiation emitted from different types of phones to assess the affect on different areas of the brain.

“Using our newly developed and more accurate techniques, we found no association between mobile phone use and cancer, providing more evidence to suggest they don’t cause brain cancer,” Naohito Yamaguchi, who led the research, said.

Google planning China online music tie-up

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Web search leader Google Inc is planning to boost its presence in China by tying up with a Chinese online music company to provide free music downloads, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The report, quoting people close to the situation, said Google was in the late planning stages of a venture and will likely offer access to tunes from three global music companies as well as dozens of smaller brands.

The service could start in the next several weeks barring any last-minute problems, it said.

Microsoft shows off Web ad prototypes

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp.’s online advertising researchers will spend this year teaching computers to be smart about sticking ads into video clips, and to be even smarter about targeting ads to specific Web surfers.

Microsoft showed off a handful of early-stage advertising projects at its headquarters Tuesday that may or may not turn up as part of Microsoft’s Web advertising platform.

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