A new option for Amazon Web Services has arrived, CNET reports: the raw computing power of supercomputing clusters now widely used in research circles. The service, called Cluster Compute, is a variation of one of the earliest services Amazon offered, EC2, or Elastic Compute Cloud. Compared to the standard EC2, it offers more processing power and faster network connections among the cluster’s computing nodes for better communications, Amazon said in a July 13 announcement. It retains the same general philosophy, though: Customers pay as they go, with more usage incurring more fees. The cluster service, which is available with Linux and a customer’s own software added into the mix, is best suited to parallel tasks that can be divided into independent pieces that run simultaneously. How fast is it? An 880-node cluster reached 41.82 teraflops, or floating-point operations per second, using the Linpack mathematical speed test. By contrast, the 145th-fastest machine on the most recent Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers reached a sustained speed of 41.88 teraflops…

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Maya Prabhu