[Beowulf] dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Thu Jul 1 07:51:11 PDT 2010

Bogdan Costescu wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 5:11 AM, Joe Landman
> <landman at scalableinformatics.com> wrote:
>> At the end of the day, the fundamental question we are debating is, does
>> the "prestige" of working with a top university/national lab have any
>> real tangible value that you can ascribe to the bottom line, does it
>> actually impact sales.
>> I posit that the answer to this is a resounding "no".  You obviously
>> disagree.
> I also disagree, but I have another point of view: the fact of working
> with a top university/national lab can be important for the
> development of the product or line of products. A top

This isn't the issue.  The issue is, will a discount which amounts to 
you as a vendor paying your customer to taking your product, in order to 
garner prestige ... will this prestige translate to the bottom line in 
the near term ... will it positively impact sales.

> university/national lab is considered top because it has clever people
> who are renowned for their way of thinking and/or published results;

This of course impugns the quality of people at "not-top" sites, places 
which may produce excellent science, but don't have the name brand of 
the "top" folks.  My experience is that innovation happens where bright 
people are, whom are motivated to innovate.  Excellent science happens 
many places which are not "top" sites.

> given a new (type of) parallel machine, they might come up with
> amazing results and/or might allow them to become even more famous -
> their publications will mention the (type of) parallel machine on
> which their results were obtained and other people looking to obtain
> similar results or looking for even better results (=competitors :-))

"Might" "might allow" "will mention"

Which one of these directly impacts against the bottom line?  Which one 
of these actively increases sales and revenues?

> will become interested. This doesn't necessarily mean that they will
> buy the same (type of) parallel machines now but, if the results were

Exactly.  They won't necessarily buy.  That does impact the bottom line.

> amazing enough, the _next_ generation of parallel machines from this
> or other vendor will be able to achieve the same amazing results
> because, by then, buyers will ask for it. So it effectively becomes an
> investment in the future.

... but this doesn't matter, unless you are quantifying this return on 
investment by classifying the discount as an investment.

The danger in doing this, and there is a profound danger in doing this, 
is that *everyone* will want you as the vendor to "invest" in them. 
This does happen, and that is why the NDA is such an important tool for 
vendors to control the distribution of the deal details.  Morever, these 
investments, as I have indicated, and again, I haven't seen a single 
indication in email (private or public) otherwise, simply don't have a 
meaningful ROI.  They aren't accretive to the bottom line.

Which means, if you start giving everyone a discount and couch this as 
an investment, all you have done is lowered your margins to close to 
zero or below.  You have no real expectation of a return on this 

Again, I am not bashing anyone.  I do think people need to think these 
arguments over very carefully before they present this stuff to their 
vendor of choice.  Most I have spoken to over the last year have told me 
that any discount comes with a significant quid pro quo, something that 
will help offset other costs elsewhere, e.g. have a measurable impact 
upon the bottom line.  Prestige adds nothing to be bottom line, it gives 
you talking points.  It won't steer a detectable/measurable number of 
customers your way.

Investment in product development happens generally independently of the 
sales efforts.  That is a real cost to the bottom line.  If you couch 
this as product investment, then you have a cost center.  Which 
negatively impacts bottom line.

> Bogdan


Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics Inc.
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423 x121
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

More information about the Beowulf mailing list