Apple is "making waves" in the supercomputer sector, according to an IDG life sciences computing analyst.
Apple marketing director for server software Tom Goguen told Information Week: "We're getting a lot of interest in using our systems in computationally intense environments. We wanted to make it really easy for scientists to use a rack of Macs as a cluster."
Goguen told Information Week that Apple's Xgrid software for distributing batch jobs such as the gene-sequencing program Blast across Mac servers, desktops, and laptops, is designed for use in small workgroups such as university computer labs.
According to Forbes, Apple computers are now seeing wider use in genomics. Biologist David Botstein told Forbes that by outfitting the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton with Apple computers and servers – eschewing the more expensive workstations that high-tech biologists have come to rely on – he has cut down on the cost of maintaining his number-crunching machines.
And researchers at biotechnology company Genentech are among the first users of new Apple Computer software for clustering Macintosh computers to run scientific applications, according to the Information Week report.
However, Aberdeen Group analyst Peter Kastner warns that biology and supercomputing won't be a big revenue driver for Apple. "I don't see it putting many pennies on the bottom line," he told Forbes.
And even Apple admits that high-performance clusters will never be its focus. Apple's director, product management, server hardware Alex Grossman told Forbes: "I don't believe anyone in the next year is going to say, 'Apple, the supercomputer company'."