RealTime IT News

Microsoft Buys 'Supercomputing for the Desktop'

Microsoft quietly announced Tuesday that it has bought the technology assets of Interactive Supercomputing (ISC) to beef up its efforts in high performance computing (HPC). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In the deal, Microsoft gets ISC's team of experts on parallel computing and HPC, as well as the products and technologies that the company has developed. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will continue to support ISC's existing product, Star-P, but it will no longer be for sale, the two parties said in online statements.

"ISC … specializes in bringing the power of parallel computing to the desktop and making high performance computing more accessible to end users," Kyril Faenov, Microsoft's general manager of high performance and parallel computing technologies, said in a post on the Windows Server Division WebLog.

Microsoft has been working for more than five years to establish itself as a significant presence in HPC circles. It's been a hard slog, however, because it's an arena that's been dominated by Linux to date.

The purchase of ISC may help, although neither company would say what uses are planned for the Waltham, Mass firm's technologies.

"Star-P lets scientists, analysts and engineers easily create parallel applications using familiar desktop tools, automatically transforming the application to run on high performance computing clusters," said an online description of ISC's product.

As of the Microsoft deal, the Star-P product is no longer for sale. Additionally, Microsoft pointed out that, while it bought the products -- Star-P Version 2.8 was released earlier this year -- it did not buy out the customers' contracts. However, Microsoft's FAQ said that it will provide customers with support for the longer of either their existing support contracts, or December 31, 2010.

"ISC's products and technology enable faster prototyping, iteration, and deployment of large-scale parallel solutions, which is well aligned with our vision of making high performance computing and parallel computing easier, both on the desktop and in the cluster," Faenov's post said.

Merging with Microsoft

The ISC technologies, products, and team, including CEO Bill Blake, will be merged into Microsoft's Server and Tools Division. The team will work out of Microsoft's New England Research & Development Center in Cambridge, Mass. Blake will report to Faenov.

Microsoft has posted an FAQ regarding the buyout and support options for customers on ISC's Web site.