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SDSC’s project is another example of cloud computing expanding the accessibility of high-performance computing (HPC) functionality once reserved for an exclusive set of institutions. Instead of being forced to build out huge clusters inside your own data centers, customers can outsource supercomputing needs to cloud vendors. Amazon offers special cluster compute instances for just such a purpose, and even built a supercomputer on the Elastic Compute Cloud that ranked among the Top 500 supercomputing sites in the world. Another project recently featured by Ars used the Amazon compute cloud to build a 30,000-core cluster for a pharmaceutical company that ran for about seven hours at a peak cost of $1,279 per hour.
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