NASA supercomputer contributor forms Linux clustering company

Donald Becker, a 33-year-old NASA contractor who helped build some of the space
agency’s famous homegrown Beowulf supercomputers, has formed a company to bring Linux
clustering to other government organizations.

Becker is chief technologist of Scyld Computing Services LLC of Columbia, Md. The
company was incorporated in December as a for-profit subsidiary of Universities Space
Research Association, also located in Columbia.

The company name, pronounced “skilled,” comes from the medieval Beowulf

Scyld will provide advanced development and support services for Beowulf clusters.

“Linux is easier to use for networking” than commercial operating systems
such as Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, said Becker, who began working on Beowulf in 1994
at Goddard Space Flight Center. Because Linux is open-source code software, federal
agencies can use only what they need without having to pay for and install unnecessary
functions, he said.

Agencies will begin to adopt the open-source operating system as more vendors develop
commercial applications for it this year, Becker predicted. He said Scyld Computing
Services currently is vying for an Air Force contract to analyze large data sets on PC

Contact Scyld Computing Services at 240-463-0035.  


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