Using several new technologies and more than 1,000 dual-processor Power Mac G5 computers, Virginia Tech University is building a supercomputer cluster that is likely to rank among the fastest in the world. In addition to the G5 machines, the university said it is using a beta version of the latest release of OS X, new networking hardware from Mellanox and Cisco, and cutting-edge configuration and cooling technologies to build the powerful cluster for a fraction of the price of a traditional supercomputer. "The total price tag is probably a factor of 10 lower than a machine in this class in the past," Virginia Tech College of Engineering dean Hassan Aref told TechNewsWorld. "Virginia Tech's idea was to develop a supercomputer of national prominence based upon a homegrown cluster."
Aref, who indicated the project is under pressure to submit computing speed numbers by October to be considered among the world's fastest supercomputers, said the cluster represents the use of five new technologies. In addition to the latest Mac operating system and dual 2-GHz Power Mac G5 machines, which Apple touts as the fastest desktop computers in the world, the cluster will use several technologies from other vendors: "brand new" networking hardware from Mellanox and Cisco; a new high-density rackmounted cooling system from Liebert; and new software that will enable the cluster to "run big jobs," according to Aref. The university said the cluster will use 1,100 dual-processor G5s. They will be clustered using 64-bit Infiniband semiconductor technology from Mellanox, which will provide the primary communications fabric, drivers, cards and switches. Cisco's Gigabit Ethernet switches also will be used as the secondary communications fabric to interconnect the
News source: TechNewsWorld