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manufacturers, consumer goods firms, and film studios can now afford access to
Grid computing software uses existing computer hardware to work together and mimic a
massively parallel supercomputer. Using existing hardware for a grid can save a firm the millions
of dollars it might otherwise cost to buy a conventional supercomputer, further bringing massive
computing capabilities to organiz ations that would otherwise never benefit from this kind of
Massively parallel computing also enables the vast server farms that power online businesses like
Google and Facebook, and which create new computing models, like software as a service (SaaS)
and cloud computing.
The characteristics of problems best suited for solving via multicore systems, parallel
supercomputers, or grid computers are those that can be divided up so that multiple calculating
components can simultaneously work on a portion of the problem. Problems that are linear—
where one part must be solved before moving to the next and the next—may have difficulty
benefiting from these kinds of “divide and conquer” computing. Fortunately many problems such
as financial risk modeling, animation, manufacturing simulation, and gene analysis are all suited
for parallel systems. QU E S TI ONS AND E XE RC I S E S 1. What is the difference between supercomputing and grid computing? How is each phenomenon
empowered by Moore’s Law?
2. How does grid computing change the economics of supercomputing?
3. Which businesses are using supercomputing and grid computing? Describe these uses and the
advantages they offer their adopting firms. Are they a source of competitive advantage? Why or
4. What are the characteristics of problems that are most easily solved using the types of parallel
computing found in grids and modern day supercomputers? What are the characteristics of the
sorts of problems not well suited for this type of computing?
5. Visit the SETI @ Home Web site (http://setiathome. ssl. berkeley. edu/). What is the purpose of the
SETI @ Home project? How do you participate? I s there any possible danger to your computer if
you choose to participate? (Read their rules and policies. )
6. Search online to identify the five fastest supercomputers currently in operation. Who sponsors
these machines? What are they used for? How many processors do they have?
7. What is “Moore’s Wall”?
8. What is the advantage of using grid computing to simulate an automobile crash test as opposed
to actually staging a crash? 5.4 E‐waste: The Dark Side of Moore’s Law
L E A RN I N G OBJ E C T I V E S
1. Understand the magnitude of the environmental issues caused by rapidly obsolete, faster and
2. Explain the limitations of approaches attempting to tackle e‐waste.
3. Understand the risks firms are exposed to when not fully considering the lifecycle of the products
they sell or consume.
4. Ask questions that expose concerning ethical issues in a firm or partner’s products and processes,
and that help the manager behave more responsibly. We sho uld celebrate the great bo unty Mo o re’s Law and the tech industry besto w o n o ur lives. Co...
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This document was uploaded on 01/31/2014.
- Winter '14