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SPEC Completes First Year Online

by Alexander Carlton,
Cupertino, Calif.

Published December, 1996; see disclaimer.

January marks the first anniversary of SPEC's transition to the World Wide Web at Over the course of the year, we have served requests from nearly 80,000 different systems around the world with between one-third and one-half of our requests from beyond North America. Increased awareness of SPECs Web presence has sparked ever-growing demand, our request load appears to be doubling about every six months.

It has been a productive year for every SPEC project group. The Open Systems Group now has more than 1,000 results available on the web site, representing more than 300 configurations from more than two dozen manufacturers. A new results engine on the Web site can produce configurable summaries for any subset of these results, allowing you to find which of the thousand are of particular interest for you. The Graphics Performance Group has more than 250 different results on the web site. Results are available for picture-level graphics performance, X System performance, and graphics performance for systems running the OpenGL API. And, all of the results for the High Performance Groups new benchmarks are being made available as they come in.

In addition to benchmark results, SPEC has been hard at work making available all sorts of information about our benchmarks. The WWW allows SPEC to present information and make materials available in ways that would be difficult or impossible to do in a paper format. Full descriptions of each of our benchmarks, for example, can be found on the Web site. Full copies of the benchmarks run and reporting rules are available on-line as well. And, where we have been able to obtain the data, we have analyses of the running benchmarks, including profiles, system usage data, and other pertinent information. For those items that don't lend themselves to being browsed, such as image definitions for the graphics benchmarks, SPEC operates an FTP site at

The SPEC Web site goes beyond the present; its also the place to find out about future benchmarks. As we begin to get a stable idea of the shape of each benchmark effort, we make that information available. Keep checking with us to get an idea of our directions and goals for the not-too-distant future.

Just as the WWW is constantly evolving, so is SPECs Web site. We are currently working to improve our Frequently Asked Questions section. In the future, it will include several indices that will guide the reader toward sources of additional information on a given topic. We are also adding new material based upon the questions we have received from visitors to our site. We are currently responding to a suggestion that we try to make all this performance stuff more understandable to novices in the field. Our first step to satisfy this need will be a glossary of terms and acronyms that are used to describe computer performance.

Finally, we are working to take advantage of the Net to make it easier for you to reach SPEC and our front office. The front office staff can be reached at We have comment forms available on the Web site, and we are finishing the online order forms for those who wish to purchase any of our benchmarking products.

It sounds like a lot, but the Web site is easy to access. So, hop online, check us out, and let us know what you think!

Alexander Carlton is a performance engineer for Hewlett-Packard who has been representing HP in the Open Systems Group for more than five years now. One part of his current duties as SPEC Editor has been building and managing the SPEC web site. He can be reached at