Gigabit Ethernet powers computer clusters

Gigabit Ethernet most popular connecting technology among top 500 supercomputers

Gigabit Ethernet as a means to connect devices in data centers and storage facilities has earned another proof point -- a computing cluster in Germany that is linked by Gigabit Ethernet and that has ranked number 58 overall for performance among the top 500 supercomputing sites in the world.

The cluster at Max Planck Institute in Hanover, Germany, supports a 32.8 Teraflop cluster, which is a far cry from the petaflop level reached by IBM to claim the top spot on the Top500.com list of supercomputing installations.

But it is still an impressive amount of computing power generated by off-the-shelf equipment, and ranks the site as the No. 1 Gigabit Ethernet-connected facility on the list from among 285. That makes Gigabit Ethernet the most popular connecting technology among the top 500, behind Infiniband, which was used in 120.

The winning IBM supercomputer uses both Gigabit Ethernet and Infiniband.

The Max Planck cluster, called ATLAS, consists of Intel EM64T 32xx 2.4GHz processors supplied by Pyramid and connected via Gigabit Ethernet switches made by Woven Systems.

The switches feature Woven technology called Dynamic Congestion Performance. This detects when traffic bound for the same computational device will collide with other traffic with the same destination and switches some of the traffic to an alternate path.

This effectively prevents switches that connect the computational devices from being overwhelmed. It also reduces the amount of memory needed to buffer the switches because they have fewer collisions to deal with. Less memory lowers the cost of the switches, Woven Systems says.

ATLAS crunches numbers in an attempt to directly measure gravitational waves, warping of the space-time fabric postulated by Albert Einstein in 1916 but never directly observed.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?