Late yesterday, Microsoft confirmed a report that appeared last month in WinInfo Daily UPDATE, admitting that the company will indeed issue a special version of Windows for high-performance computing (HPC). Windows Server 2003, HPC Edition will target scalable, parallel-computing workloads in vertical market segments such as engineering, life sciences, and finance, according to the company.
  
"Windows Server 2003, HPC Edition will offer customers a Windows-based solution with a single simplified environment for developing HPC applications, deploying, and managing HPC clusters," a Microsoft representative told me. "Scalable and easy to use, this edition will deliver a secure HPC platform with high performance and low total cost of ownership \[TCO\]. Additionally, Windows Server 2003, HPC Edition will include established industry standards, such as Message Passing Interface (MPI), for high performance computing and will be supported by many industry partners, including OEMs, middleware \[vendors\], and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) such as AMD, Dell, IBM, Intel, HP, Verari Systems, and Cornell Theory Center (CTC)."
  
In my early May briefing with Microsoft Senior Vice President Bob Muglia, the Windows Server Division executive noted that HPC was one area in which the company was falling short and intimated that Microsoft would soon correct that situation. "One workload I think we've historically done poorest in is HPC," he told me. "But that's an area where we're making some ongoing investments."
  
Windows 2003, HPC Edition will ship in late 2005. Final pricing and packaging decisions have yet to be determined, the company noted.