Apple wants scientists to use Macintosh for high performance computing

“Apple Computer is enticing even more scientists to use its Macintosh server hardware and software for high performance computing (HPC) projects,” Michael Singer reports for “The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said it will award five fully-provisioned, all-inclusive Apple Workgroup Clusters for Bioinformatics to five scientific researchers in the U.S.”

“‘We’ll select the best applications based on the applicant’s scientific record, the likelihood that this project will discover something novel using the award, and the likelihood that this research focus would yield methods or discoveries applicable to the broader life science community,’ Apple said on its Web site. For the winners, Apple is prepared to hand out a 4-node Apple Workgroup Cluster, including four dual-processor Xserve G5s with 2GB RAM; BioTeam iNquiry, including 200 pre-installed bioinformatics applications; Asante GX5-800 Gigabit Ethernet switch; and three years of service and support. A panel of scientists has been tapped to help Apple review and select the five best applications. The deadline for submission is midnight June 13, 2004,” Singer reports.

Full article here.


  1. CAD/CAM Apps MUST be OS X…

    Pro/E… AutoCAD… even IronCAD… etc.

    The platform’s more than ready, and ya think w/ a UNIX base it would be easy…


  2. GrapeGraphics, I agree that it would be great to have stuff like Pro/E on Mac, but you’re off topic. Apple is looking for science researchers, not engineers.

  3. If you knew what a piece of crap, cobbled-together, steaming, festering shit stain AutoCAD is (spaghetti code that makes Windows look elegantly programmed), then you’d know that it would be basically impossible to make AutoCAD for Mac OS X without starting from scratch. Ain’t gonna happen. All due to the fact that AuotCAD is a nightmare mess of coding and is too far gone to fix.

  4. Unfortunately true about Autocad, I was testing an Autocad 2005 demo just yesterday. No wonder Autocad users are an advertised job category unto themselves. The program is so weird that it makes your head explode. I guess it’s a way of creating your own niche.

    If I had a clue about what “Bioinformatics” was, I would apply!! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    In any case, I’m glad Apple is doing some marketing to adults, I never thought I would see it either. Congratulations, lets have more, so that I can be using a model year 2025 Mac 20 years from now.

  5. Metryq, Engineering is the link between the theory and application. Engineers design newer and better products using information derived from scientific research, so it’s not that far off topic. It’s good that Apple is pushing the Mac at the scientific community. What better tool for allowing scientists to focus on the challange of their research rather than trying to coax anything resembling functionality out of wintel-based computers?

    Gianni, I agree with you about AutoCAD. I’ve watched design engineers struggle with it. AutoCAD is still based on a command-line interface dating back to the first CAD systems. My son had to take a course in drafting using AutoCAD and found that it uses the same processes as one would when drawing on paper with a pencil. Computers are supposed to free the user from that. I find Vectorworks to be a very effective tool for the development of assembly tools and floor layout.

    I also agree with Grapegrafics that ProEngineer should be coded for the Mac. Their latest release, “Wildfire” would sing on a Mac G5. Unfortunately, when I brought the subject up to a Paratechnologies rep (ProE) he almost choked at the mention of the Mac. Ironically, they are working to code it for Linux. I countered with the fact that they can take the Unix-based code for Linux and compile it for the Unix-based Mac with minimal modifications. All I got back was a blank stare. Sigh…empty minded bias.

  6. I like to add a bit more to what Mac Daddy said. Scientific research does not solely a field populated by what you refer as ‘scientists’ who focus on ‘pure’ theories. Many engineers actually contribute to science and scientific research whether they are in the academia or the industry. You can get advanced degrees in engineering that require and help you to develop your research skills. There is no clear separation between engineering and science as science is the foundation of engineering and engineering achievements help develop and further scientific knowledge.

  7. “If I had a clue about what “Bioinformatics” was, I would apply!! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />” – kenh

    Courtesy of Wikipedia:
    Bioinformatics or computational biology is the use of mathematical and informational techniques, including statistics, to solve biological problems, usually by creating or using computer programs, mathematical models or both. One of the main areas of bioinformatics is the data mining and analysis of the data gathered by the various genome projects. Other areas are sequence alignment, protein structure prediction, systems biology, and virtual evolution. As a summary, the various genome projects produce many long lists of letters and one of the roles of bioinformatics is to attempt to determine the words, grammar, sentences and ultimately, meaning (functional significance) of those letters.

  8. I am a bioinformaticist, but more on the biological end of the spectrum that the computational end. The amount of information in this field is increasing at an alarming rate and the computational power required to explore all of the possible interactions in the data is mind boggling. Most of the tools required for this analysis do not reach the vast majority of the biological specialists who understand the biological implications very deeply. So we end up with the biologists and the computer specialists who are not able to share ideas and tools nearly as effectively as would be optimal.

    Back in the 1980s, Apple dominated molecular biology in the United States due to its ease of use and ability to make intuitive tools that allowed molecular biologists to just get on with the job of understanding genes. Apple seems to have slipped some since that time, but is still very strong in this market.

    For the last 15 years, the most accessible high powered tools have been available on supercomputers located primary at three locations; USA, Europe and Japan. The massive genome database is maintained in redundant copies at these sites and this resource has been made freely available to researchers around the world (very handy for the rest of us). This centralised approach has become limiting. New software tends to get developed by unix programmers and only reaches the vast majority of desktop users years later. We all need these tools on our desktops together with software that will encourage and facilitate the exploration of ideas.

    It seems that Apple is now trying to put a unix supercomputer in every lab, much as it put a desktop machine in every lab in the early days. This will reduce the time delay in getting the software to those of us who are more biological than computational. The ease of use factor will allow a huge amount of intellectual potential to be realised.

    The cost of one of these new units is not much different from the cost of a MacII back in the old days. In a business sense, it is catering to a receptive and established user base. Now imagine Xgrid. . .

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