The 'cheap' supercomputer in the Amazon cloud

By , ITworld |  Cloud Computing, Amazon EC2, supercomputer

$4,829 per hour isn't "cheap" but a 50,000 core supercomputer would cost up to $25 million.

A cancer research software simulation project run by New York firm Schrodinger relied on 6,742 Amazon EC2 instances to provide 51,132 computer cores. This global effort used Amazon installations in Virginia, Oregon, California, Tokyo, Singapore, Sao Paolo, and Ireland. A total of 58.78TB of RAM was used in the "computer" for the project.

By winning a contest run by Cycle Computing for free supercomputer time, Morgridge Institute for Research was able to perform stem cell research. Existing supercomputer owners do sell time on their systems, but getting 50,000 computers working together takes careful planning, and will not be done regularly. Until, of course, Amazon EC2 scales up some more.

Buy versus rent

It's much cheaper to just budget $100k and book a few weekends with this thing.
jeblucas on arstechnica.com

It ran for only 3 hours, at a total cost of $14,486 - compared to the build cost and lead time involved in building a "$20-25m data center". This has huge implications for the availability of supercomputers for smaller organizations and use cases.
garethsprice on news.ycombinator.com

When people say cloud computing is just a gimmick, they really have no idea what they’re talking about.

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