After building one of the world's fastest supercomputers on its first try, Apple Computer Inc. is again teaming with Virginia Tech to make another high performance machine using its new 64-bit Xserve G5 computer.
Xserve, a thinner, more compact machine designed for clustering with other computers, will replace the supercomputer Tech built in November using off-the-shelf G5 PowerMacs.
Tech project leader Srinidhi Varadarajan said the university will upgrade from PowerMacs to Xserves in April or May. Tech is still negotiating the price with Apple, though Varadarajan said Monday any additional cost to the school would be "fairly minimal."
Tech's cluster of 1,100 G5s surprised the supercomputing world last year by performing 10.3 trillion operations per second -- making it the third-fastest machine in the world. Varadarajan and his staff of student volunteers built it in just weeks for $7 million, a fraction of the cost of traditional supercomputers.
In comparison, the world's fastest machine, Earth Simulator Center in Japan, cost at least $250 million and can run 35.9 trillion operations per second. The next fastest is a $215 million Hewlett-Packard computer at Los Alamos National Laboratory that can complete 13.9 trillion operations per second.
News source: Newsday - Apple to Build Second Supercomputer