New Apple Super Computer (Army)

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Based on the success of Virginia Tech's PowerMac G5 supercomputer, CNet reports that Colsa has placed an order with Apple for a number of servers:

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.
The new cluster is expected to reach 15 teraflops when it is completed this fall and will run Army simulations of the aerodynamics of flight.
 

impierced

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2002
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Rumored...

Macrumors said:
Based on the success of Virginia Tech's PowerMac G5 supercomputer, CNet reports that Colsa has placed an order with Apple for a number of servers:



The new cluster is expected to reach 15 teraflops when it is completed this fall and will run Army simulations of the aerodynamics of flight.
This was rumored a while back from some foreign web site and everyone dismissed it. Anyone remember the link?
 

Freg3000

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Sep 22, 2002
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MacCentral says it will be more than 15 TF.

MacCentral said:
The supercomputer, named MACH 5, is expected to deliver peak performance capability of more than 25 TFlops/second. In comparison, the Virginia Tech supercomputer announced last year attained sustained performance of approximately 10 TFlops/second, according to Apple director of product management, server hardware, Alex Grossman.
Either way.....AWESOME.

I know twice as many xServes would scale directly to twice as much power, but just imagine if the 5.8 million dollars they used to buy all of these xServes was 58 million. Imagine Macs comprising the fastest computer in the world......still many times less than the 350 million dollar Earth Simulator!

:D :D :D
 

Freg3000

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Sep 22, 2002
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impierced said:
This was rumored a while back from some foreign web site and everyone dismissed it. Anyone remember the link?
Well this isn't foreign, it is just AppleInsider :

AppleInsider said:
Meanwhile, TechWeb is reporting that Virginia Tech has received "a number of inquiries" from federal agencies to use the university's installation or its supercomputer-kit technology to build their own supercomputer installations, following the universities announced plans to transition the cluster to Apple's new dual Power PC 970 Xserve G5 systems.

Argonne National Lab, the National Security Agency, and NASA, are among those expressing interest in the supercomputer technology. According to the article, negotiations were underway with potential customers who could use the university's installation itself, or obtain rights to build their own supercomputer based on the university's technology.
I do remember another source though.
 

musicpyrite

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
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What?!!?!? WTF?? The government actually doing something right?

Good news for Apple. Good news for the Army. Bad news fo' M$ and DuLL.
 

impierced

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2002
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Freg3000 said:
Well this isn't foreign, it is just AppleInsider :



I do remember another source though.
I remember a site (maybe it wasn't foreign) that listed the reasons as to why the XServe G5 (or was it the PowerMac) wasn't shipping. One was because the US Government (I think) was purchasing 1500+ systems and another reason was something that was going to get someone at Apple in hot water. There were like 3 or 4 reasons.

ARGH, stupid memory.
 

deepkid

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2002
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chicago
Not using InfiniBand?

Macrumors said:
Based on the success of Virginia Tech's PowerMac G5 supercomputer, CNet reports that Colsa has placed an order with Apple for a number of servers:

The new cluster is expected to reach 15 teraflops when it is completed this fall and will run Army simulations of the aerodynamics of flight.
I wonder if they'll run into any bottlenecks using gigabit ethernet instead of InfiniBand. Would that affect them truly reaching 15 teraflops...
 

nsb3000

macrumors 6502
Jun 17, 2003
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Boston, MA
Macrumors said:
Based on the success of Virginia Tech's PowerMac G5 supercomputer, CNet reports that Colsa has placed an order with Apple for a number of servers:



The new cluster is expected to reach 15 teraflops when it is completed this fall and will run Army simulations of the aerodynamics of flight.
In related news, the new list of the top 500 super computers just came out, and I can't find Virginia Tech's Powermac G5 cluster anywhere on it. Did it really slide from #3 all the way to 501 and beyond?

EDIT: I answered my own question. The article states: "System X, which vanished from the most recent list for upgrades,"...
 

Sunrunner

macrumors 6502a
Nov 27, 2003
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hrmm....

coolfactor said:
If you read the article, it mentions that they don't need the network bandwidth that the Big Mac needed. We'll see.

I wonder why that would be ... isn't network bandwidth one of the primary factors that kill the speed of cllustered computers?
 

coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
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nsb3000 said:
In related news, the new list the top 500 super computers just came out, and I can't find Virginia Tech's Powermac G5 cluster anywhere on it. Did it really slide from #3 all the way to 501 and beyond?

EDIT: I answered my own question. The article states: "System X, which vanished from the most recent list for upgrades,"...
It's not on there because they're in transition to an Xserve-based setup. Apple sure must've taken a hit for that, given the delays of delivering the new machines.
 

coolfactor

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Jul 29, 2002
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Sunrunner said:
I wonder why that would be ... isn't network bandwidth one of the primary factors that kill the speed of cllustered computers?
It could be the way the processing is done. There would be a difference between transferring digital media files and transferring mathematical data, though.
 
M

må¥å

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Apple is going out of Business (scarstic)

With this news and the news previously about the USarmy icons for the login this is looking good for apple.

And I remember people saying that Apple is going to go out of business in another 20 years. ;)
 

mactarkus

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2003
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Bigger news than you think!

As someone who works for the Department of Defense, this purchase of Apple computers is monumental toward more widespread adoption of the platform. You see, the US Government = Microsoft. Even Linux is still a hard sell most of the time. I remember there was a big purchase by the US Navy a year or so back to outfit a submarine. I wonder how that project is progressing.
 

nsb3000

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Jun 17, 2003
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coolfactor said:
It's not on there because they're in transition to an Xserve-based setup. Apple sure must've taken a hit for that, given the delays of delivering the new machines.
Its true. Apple really needs to get over their "we make great products but have no idea how to produce them in volume" problem...
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
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The Peninsula
Sunrunner said:
coolfactor said:
If you read the article, it mentions that they don't need the network bandwidth that the Big Mac needed. We'll see.

I wonder why that would be ... isn't network bandwidth one of the primary factors that kill the speed of cllustered computers?
It depends on the application.

The important factor is the ratio of the amount of data needed per "work unit" and the amount of CPU time needed to process the "work unit".

By far one of the most massive supercomputers around is the one doing SETI@home - and it's running on dialup, DSL and cable modems. The key is that it needs many CPU hours of work on a data packet of a few hundred KB.

For MPI jobs like LINPACK, however, you need to work on a few KB of data for a fraction of a second.

A slow or high-latency network will kill MPI performance. It won't matter for video rendering or other tasks with the right profile.
 

macsrus

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2004
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Terra Firma
Sunrunner said:
coolfactor said:
If you read the article, it mentions that they don't need the network bandwidth that the Big Mac needed. We'll see.

I wonder why that would be ... isn't network bandwidth one of the primary factors that kill the speed of cllustered computers?
As a general rule faster interconnects=faster clusters....
But this is very Problem/Code related....

If your particular code does alot of message passing then a low latency interconnect such as Quadrics, Myrinet, or Infiniband is the way to go....

But some Problems are so CPU intensive... that they are literally CPU bound and for these Codes low latency interconnects are not as important...
And you can get by with Ethernet

Since they say they dont need a high speed interconnect, I would expect that their code is like the later
 

deepkid

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2002
153
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chicago
Flight simulations...

coolfactor said:
It could be the way the processing is done. There would be a difference between transferring digital media files and transferring mathematical data, though.
Would seem like flight simulations would need speedy networking also. I guess we'll see once they get it up running. BTW, I did read that statement about networking needs in the article, but it still left me wondering.
 

sushi

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Jul 19, 2002
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mactarkus said:
As someone who works for the Department of Defense, this purchase of Apple computers is monumental toward more widespread adoption of the platform. You see, the US Government = Microsoft. Even Linux is still a hard sell most of the time.
Well put!

Hey, the government/DoD is not anti Mac and pro Microsoft. You could order any computer as long as it ran Windows natively and had Microsoft Office installed! :D

I really enjoyed it when the Army switched over from NT to Mac servers. It was so fun to see the look on the IT folks faces when I informed them of the change. Total disbelief.

...Of course I gladly enlightened them! :D :D :D


mactarkus said:
I remember there was a big purchase by the US Navy a year or so back to outfit a submarine. I wonder how that project is progressing.
Didn't hear about this. Good news!

I remember the ship (destroyer I believe) that was run on WinNT that totally crashed and they had to tow it back into the yard to fix it. Funny!

Sushi
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
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Colly-fornia
As an added bonus, the Army will probably spend a good deal less worrying about software security issues.

It's good to see people who make decisions based on the bottom line choosing Apples again.

(And let's keep this thread out of the political section.)
 
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