TechWorld: How did high-performance computing snag such stunning buzz? After all, until recently, HPC was a niche technology with limited applicability and even fewer practitioners. Yet mainstream IT folks have been salivating over it for years.
My suspicion is that HPC permeated the public consciousness thanks to SETI@home, a grid application that borrowed cycles from idle computers across the Net and put them to work looking for signs of intelligent life in the universe. Started in 1999, SETI@home had an almost irresistible appeal: That your computer might find ET just by crunching radio telescope data in its spare time. Back then I enrolled my PC in the grid, and so did many of the other geeks I knew.
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