No. of Recommendations: 24
My initial out-of-the-box experience with a new 16GB iMac (with the four-core i7 processor) was bitterly disappointing, because I could not get BootCamp to accept the 64bit version of Windows 7. After three days of frustration, I bit the bullet and installed Parallels. That was several weeks ago.

Last Wednesday evening I had an emergency phone call from a group that is trying to forecast the evolution of the cholera epidemic in the island of Hispaniola (Haiti occupies the western side of the island, the Dominican Republic the eastern). They had been unable to get their tracking model to work on high-end PCs — too little RAM — and wondered if I might try on my machine.

Out of sheer cussedness, I elected to use MacOS X (the software runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac, so we had a choice). I downloaded everything required in about half an hour, initialized the simulation, held my breath, and hit GO.

Wow! I have never seen such performance from a single-processor machine before. With all cores running flat-out, we had an answer and lots of pretty pictures less than fifteen minutes. This thing is amazing. To give you an idea of the numerical problem, it required inverting a 6000x6000 matrix, and many operations with the result.

I wish I could also say that the outcome of the simulation was encouraging. It isn't. The people of Hispaniola are in for some very bad times. Cholera is one of the ugliest and most dangerous epidemic diseases known; I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Still, I am now officially much happier with my new iMac.

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