Whither SGI?

SGI by blakespot
Industry watching: Is this the end?:
[Via business|bytes|genes|molecules]

One wouldn’t have been able to tell looking at the huge Supercomputing booth, but SGI has been struggling for years. The company, whose machines were the mainstay of computational science, especially life science back in the day, and got this blogger through grad school, might just be on its final legs. Today, they received a delisting notice from the Nasdaq. Now, this is not the first time they’ve been in trouble, having filed for Chapter 11 in the past following delisting from the NYSE, so it’s entirely possible they will come out of it, but with the economy the way it is, and no real market for what they offer, I am not so sure. If it is the beginning of the end, it will be the end of a proud company that was once the epitome of visualization technology and built some of THE best computers ever made.

This is a shame. I go back to when Evans and Sutherland were the big computers used for visualizing all sorts of things. An old LDS-1 was the first ‘graphics’ computer I ever used, although the ‘pictures’ it showed were made up of many vector lines, not the smooth color-filled shapes we have today.

The Silicon Graphics came along, with its raster-based graphics and really fine looking representation of protein structure. While there was some competition with E&S systems, SGI was always the coolest. Great programs for representing biological structures and nice looking machines (colored plastics long before Apple). At one point in my career, I had a Mac as my regular computer and an old Indigo2 that the protein structure people gave me as a hand-me-down.

It was really sweet to have both computers working on structural problems at the same time.

Now it may be gone. E&S long ago left biological market, now making digital theaters and such.

Memories. E&S and SGI back when structural programs had great names like FRODO (I learned about this while at Rice from Jim Pflugrath who helped port it to an E&S PS300 while in Flo Quicho’s lab) and mice all had 3 buttons. #-D representations using blinking goggles synched to the monitor.

Now it can all be done by desktops. I do feel old.

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