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MacBytes
Nov 9, 2004, 02:08 AM
Category: Apple Hardware
Link: Top 500 supercomputer list released; VT Xserve cluster takes 7th place (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20041109030814)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

Chaszmyr
Nov 9, 2004, 03:16 AM
Someone should sneak into the facility where BlueGene is and set it up to Fold for MacRumors :D

iMeowbot
Nov 9, 2004, 03:48 AM
I knew that System X was up against some formidable beasts this time, but it still did better than I expected.

Half the top 10, at slots 1, 4, 7 and 8 and 9 are all PowerPC or POWER4+. Not bad.

nagromme
Nov 9, 2004, 05:26 AM
Not bad--"Big Mac" wasn't even assured of making the Top 10 despite its recent speed boost, last I heard.

And still none of the other machines come CLOSE in terms of price per power.

I wonder when the big Army cluster and others will appear on the list?

Go IBM!

nagromme
Nov 9, 2004, 05:28 AM
FYI, here's a list of Mac supercomputers I've bookmarked. Xserve clusters (http://www.apple.com/xserve/cluster/) seem to be big (http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?NewsID=9069) lately. Price/performance, reduced heat output, and UNIX with easy management are often cited as reasons.

Recent Xserve clusters of 32 processors or more:

* VA Tech's "System X" aka "Big Mac"
(1100 dual-2.3 nodes and counting, used for a range of academic research (http://www.tcf.vt.edu/))

* French CGG cluster
(672 dual nodes, integrated into an existing 40 TFLOP cluster for oil prospecting (http://www.hardmac.com/niouzcontenu.php?date=2004-09-03#2783))

* Australian Defence Force's "Checkmate"
(16 dual nodes, used for command and control simulations (http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,8396443%5E15841%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html))

* UNC's cluster
(43 dual nodes, used for proteomics research (http://www.apple.com/pro/science/giddings/))

* UC Davis's cluster
(38 dual nodes, used for Genome Center research (http://www.apple.com/science/profiles/benham/))

* University College Santa Cruz's cluster
(36 dual nodes and counting, used for a range of academic research (http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?NewsID=9247))

* US Army's "MACH 5"
(1566 dual nodes, used by Army and NASA for hypersonic flight research (http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?NewsID=8971))

* U. Maine's "Baby MACH 5"
(256 dual nodes, used for software development and optimization for MACH 5 (http://www.umaine.edu/news/071904/ArmySupercomputer.htm))

Also, the US Navy is using Xserves on board submarines (http://www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/os/macos/story/0,10801,83783,00.html), to run their Linux-based sonar imaging system.

And VA Tech is considering much larger Mac clusters (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2004/tc2004083_7126_tc153.htm) in future: "System L" and "System C."

macridah
Nov 9, 2004, 07:00 AM
To be in the top 10 is still awesome. I'm sure there will be more mac clusters next year. The price to performance ratio is still unbeatable. Apple came out of no where to make the top 10 (3 then 7) the first year after the G5 came out--now that's potential for something bigger, faster, and more kick ass.

Chaszmyr
Nov 9, 2004, 07:07 AM
It's totally awesome if you compare System X to the other computers in the top 10 (in terms of number of processors and total performance). The G5 owns other processors.

Mr. Anderson
Nov 9, 2004, 07:31 AM
And VA Tech is considering much larger Mac clusters (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2004/tc2004083_7126_tc153.htm) in future: "System L" and "System C."

That's just nuts - 50 TeraFlops and then 100 TeraFlops - I'm wondering if they're planning on using newer CPUs.....you'd probably have to - so the real question here is what do they know? :D

D

csubear
Nov 9, 2004, 07:52 AM
Wow, the number one machine is using IBM 440s. That the same cpu used in the game cube :)

neonart
Nov 9, 2004, 08:04 AM
Great results! Nothing with the same amount of Processors can top Big Mac. In fact, if you notice 2500 Xeon 3.06 Ghz can't do it! Very good results, just some really high end monsters out there!

crenz
Nov 9, 2004, 08:23 AM
Don't forget the PPC970 cluster that is #4... it's IBM computers, but the same processor family as the Xserves.

Mr_Ed
Nov 9, 2004, 09:04 AM
Number 7 for VT is awesome, especially considering the cost. I wonder if anyone has plans to cluster larger numbers of Mac nodes . . .

macridah
Nov 9, 2004, 09:32 AM
after looking at the list of the fastest computers, I notice the vt cluster beats computers that have more CPU's and the CPU's are have faster (in Ghz that is). This to me means apple's xServe architecture is a major contributer to the performance, plus the genius' at VT helped too of course.

cluthz
Nov 9, 2004, 09:49 AM
Thats good!

When is the COLSA 1566 Xserve system ready?

This is nice:
#7 Virginia Tech
System X
1100 Dual Apple XServe, PPC 970fx 2.3 GHz / 2200
12250/20240

#10 NCSA
Tungsten
Dell PowerEdge 1750, P4 Xeon 3.06 GHz, Myrinet / 2500
9819/15300

#17 Shanghai Supercomputer Center
Dawning 4000A, Opteron 2.2 GHz, Myrinet / 2560
8061/11264

(2200x G5@2.3GHz)>(2500x P4Xenon@3.06GHz)>(2560x Opteron@2.2GHz)
:D

Sir_Giggles
Nov 9, 2004, 02:38 PM
I read in a couple of years, IBM is planning of introducing supercomputers capable of 1 petaflop. Thats 1,000 teraflops, and next year, IBM is already slated to bring out Blue Gene capable of at least 1/3 of that.

1 petaflop just boggles my mind! We're at least 3 years from that milestone, so I really wonder what sort of computational tasks you can throw at that sort of ultra-supercomputer.

I've speculated with the arrival of photonic or quantum computers, a single CPU node could theoretically calculate in excess of 1 petaflop, but I guess that sort of exotic technology is still decades away.

wordmunger
Nov 9, 2004, 02:49 PM
1 petaflop just boggles my mind! We're at least 3 years from that milestone, so I really wonder what sort of computational tasks you can throw at that sort of ultra-supercomputer.

Petaflop, Teraflop, they all boggle my mind. Heck, a Gigaflop used to boggle my mind. Really, the point is, what these computers can do. I think with Petaflop-level computers, we might see applications in modeling climate change, much more accurate weather/hurricane predictions, a better understanding of the origins of the universe, perhaps more effective economic analysis tool. Yes, exciting times!

SiliconAddict
Nov 9, 2004, 03:59 PM
That's just nuts - 50 TeraFlops and then 100 TeraFlops - I'm wondering if they're planning on using newer CPUs.....you'd probably have to - so the real question here is what do they know? :D

D


Naa the real question is when is VT going to build their own power plant to power those suckers. ;)

Cobalt Jacket
Nov 9, 2004, 10:18 PM
Listen, I'm a Mac fan too, but System X does not come anywhere near Blue Gene/L.

Rough numbers --

System X == 12 TFLOPS @ 7mil or $583,333 per TFLOPS.

Blue Gene/L (when finished) == between 280 and 360 TFLOPS @ 100mil or between $357,142 and $277,778 per TFLOPS.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 10, 2004, 04:48 AM
Listen, I'm a Mac fan too, but System X does not come anywhere near Blue Gene/L.

Rough numbers --

System X == 12 TFLOPS @ 7mil or $583,333 per TFLOPS.

Blue Gene/L (when finished) == between 280 and 360 TFLOPS @ 100mil or between $357,142 and $277,778 per TFLOPS.
Wow. Blue Gene/L already dominates everything else, even though it isn't finished yet. Let's say the finished Blue Gene/L cranks out 350 TFLOPS - that puts its performance at 7x (!) the current second-place supercomputer!