Linux clusters speeding to top
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Jan 16, 2001
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications announced plans Tuesday
to install two IBM Corp. Linux clusters to create the world's fastest Linux
NCSA's clusters, which will be housed at the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign, will have 2 teraflops of computing power. They will
be used by researchers in many scientific fields, including those studying
the nature of gravitational waves, computational biology and computational
chemistry, said Dan Reed, director of NCSA.
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications
hosts the National Computational Science Alliance, a partnership working
to create a prototype for an advanced computational infrastructure for the
future. The alliance includes more than 50 academic, government and industry
research partners from across the United States.
For now, the fastest Linux supercomputer, LosLobos, is at the Albuquerque High Performance Computing Center and is
ranked 80th on the most recent Top 500 Supercomputer
Sites list. By comparison, Reed said the new NCSA clusters should be close
to the top five in the world.
Basing the new supercomputers on Linux was a no-brainer, Reed said,
because the platform provides users with a familiar computing environment
that covers single-user desktop workstations and small research clusters
to the largest systems.
Reed would not disclose the total cost of the new machines but said
it is a "multimillion-dollar deal by a substantial margin."
The two NCSA Linux clusters will include more than 600 IBM eServer xSeries
running Linux and Myricom Inc.'s Myrinet cluster interconnect network.
The first cluster will be installed in February by IBM Global Services
Inc. and will be based on the company's eServer x330 thin servers. Each
will have a pair of 1 GHz Intel Corp. Pentium III processors and will run
Red Hat Linux.
The second cluster, which should be up and running by June, will be
one of the first to use Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor and will run Turbolinux,
Reed said. The two clusters will expand the capabilities that NCSA has
already demonstrated with Linux clusters and the Intel architectures.