Sunday, April 15, 2007

From 19 hours to 2 minutes

Miha, said my sister. I saw the video, I but I never understood a thing of what you were talking about. I know what iPod does. But what Sun Grid Engine is and what it does?

This post is for her.

Do Bible codes predict the future? Still a controversy, but Jeffrey Satinover writes in this book Cracking the Bible Code :

Washington, D.C. Offices of the National Security Agency. April 1989

Gans was senior cryptologic mathematician with the US Department of Defense... He was not awaiting an analysis churned out by the many Cray supercomputers owned by the agency in abundance. He was waiting for a call from his wife, in which she will read him a number - the end product of a non-stop nineteen-day-long calculation programmed into a modest 386 desktop vlone he kept at home.

I smile. A 19 day long calculation could be done today with AMD or Intel double core single CPU notebook in about a quarter of one day (6 hours).

If this is spectacular, then read this. A grid made out of about 100 nodes with dual CPU are very common in 2007. Most grids the financial institutions need are 5,000 nodes or more. So a 100 node grid with Sun Grid Engine software (see below for a demo) would further reduce the execution time from 6 hours to about 2 minutes.

This explains why the agency Gans worked for trashed the 1989 water-cooled Cray machines that had an electricity bill of $1M per month per unit. A few hundred inexpensive servers can do the same job and be paid from the savings in the electricity bills alone.

In 2007 Gans could simply work from home and be with his dear wife most of the time.

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