Apple sells supercomputer sequel

You know you got a hot product when a U.S. Army contractor wants it. That's just the case for Apple who landed a $5.8 million contract. This contract is for a 1,566 Xserve G5 machines. This will be Apple's second supercomputer (first one was with Virginia Tech) that packs a punch of 15 teraflops. This new supercomputer will be running "Army simulations of the aerodynamics of flight", but this setup won't be complete till fall 2004.

A U.S. Army contractor has purchased a $5.8 million, 1,566-server supercomputer from Apple Computer, a real-world cousin to an academic system that briefly appeared high on a list of the most powerful machines.

In November, a machine called System X with 1,100 dual-processor Power Mac G5 workstations climbed to third place on the Top500 list of the most powerful supercomputers. On Monday, Huntsville, Ala.-based Colsa announced it's buying a larger system called MACH 5 to run Army simulations of the aerodynamics of flight much faster than the speed of sound. System X, which vanished from the most recent list for upgrades, had sustained performance of 10.3 trillion calculations per second, or "teraflops." The Colsa system, made of dual-processor Xserve G5 machines, is expected to reach about 15 teraflops when it's up and running this fall, said project manager Mike Whitlock.

By comparison, the fastest system on a new version of the Top500 list, NEC's Earth Simulator, runs at a speed of 35.8 teraflops, and only one other system exceeded 15 teraflops. Hewlett-Packard and IBM dominate the market for high-performance technical computing, with sales of $1.79 billion and $1.62 billion, respectively, in 2003, according to researcher IDC. But Apple is angling for its own share. It has released management software to control large groups of servers, and it sells models geared for supercomputing cluster use with unneeded components stripped out.

News source: C|Net News.com

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