IBM Canada and the University of British Columbia (UBC) recently turned loose a new supercomputer - code named Monster - that will help researchers predict and plan for avalanches, forest fires, earthquakes, cyclones and other natural disasters.
Located at UBC's Geophysical Disaster Computational Fluid Dynamics (GeoDisaster) Centre in Vancouver, Monster is an IBM eServer xSeries-based Linux cluster that will deliver the most detailed weather mapping forecasts available to Canadian academic researchers. With a peak speed of 170 billion calculations per second, Top 500 - the organization that ranks the world's supercomputers - lists this installation as the fourth most powerful computer in Canada, and 255th in the world. Rather than following the more standard supercomputing architecture of a small number of extremely powerful processors, Monster is powered by 264 Intel Pentium 1GHz processors, running very fast Myrinet 2000 Interconnect and Red Hat Linux version 6.2.
Windows XP security alert revised by FBI agency
The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) has revised its recent security bulletin regarding Windows XP's universal plug-and-play (UPNP) service. On Christmas Eve, the NIPC issued a bulletin advising Windows XP users to consider turning off the UPNP service to close a security hole that could allow hackers to break into a user's computer. That recommendation followed the posting of a patch by Microsoft Corp. on its Web site.
Now, in an updated security bulletin, the NIPC has dropped the recommendation to disable UPNP. Instead, the Washington-based agency recommends that the Microsoft patch be installed to correct the security vulnerability.
Euro conversion goes smoothly, but tests for IT remain
European Union banks are reporting that the conversion to the new euro currency has so far gone smoothly. But experts say that the real test is ahead for accounting systems, databases, spreadsheets and back-end business IT systems.
Although the euro has been the virtual currency in 12 of the 15 European Union countries since 1999, the actual physical conversion to the new money didn't take place until Jan. 1. Those adopting the currency include Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Those still on the sidelines are Britain, Denmark and Sweden. Europay International, the leading European electronic payments group representing MasterCard International Inc., Eurocard, Cirrus, Maestro and Eurocheque brands, said automated teller machine (ATM) and debit card withdrawals hit record levels in the first 24 hours after the euro's release.
Popular file-swap programs had Trojan horse