IBM plans world's most powerful Linux supercomputer

A Japanese national research laboratory has placed an order with IBM for a supercomputer cluster that, when completed, is expected to be the most powerful Linux-based computer in the world.

The order, from Japan's National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), was announced by the company on Wednesday as it simultaneously launched the eServer 325 system on which the cluster will be largely based. The eServer 325 is a 1U rack mount system that includes two Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processors of either model 240, 242 or 246, said IBM in a statement.

The supercomputer ordered by AIST will be built around 1,058 of these eServer 325 systems, to make a total of 2,116 Opteron 246 processors, and an additional number of Intel servers that include a total of 520 of the company's third-generation Itanium 2 processor, also known by its code name Madison.

The Opteron systems will collectively deliver a theoretical peak performance of 8.5 trillion calculations per second while the Itanium 2 systems will add 2.7 trillion calculations per second to that for a total theoretical peak performance for the entire cluster of 11.2 trillion calculations per second.

That would rank it just above the current most powerful Linux supercomputer, a cluster based on Intel's Xeon processor and run by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the U.S. That machine has a theoretical peak performance of 11.1 trillion calculations per second, according to the latest version of the Top 500 supercomputer ranking.

Based on that ranking, the new machine would mean Japan is home to two out of the three most powerful computers in the world. The current most powerful machine, the NEC-built Earth Simulator of the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center, has a theoretical peak performance of 41.0 trillion calculations per second while that of the second-fastest machine, Los Alamos National Laboratory's ASCI Q, is 20.5 trillion calculations per second.

The eServer 325 can run either the Linux or Windows operating systems and the supercomputer ordered by AIST will run SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8. IBM said it expects to deliver the cluster to AIST in March, 2004. AIST will link the machine with others as part of a supercomputer grid that will be used in research of grid technology, life sciences bioinformatics and nanotechnology, IBM said.

General availability of the eServer 325 is expected in October this year and IBM said prices for the computer start at US$2,919. The computers can also be accessed through IBM's on-demand service where users pay for processing power based on capacity and duration.

IBM's announcement is the second piece of good news for AMD and its Opteron processor within the last two weeks. The processor, which can handle both 32-bit and 64-bit applications, was launched in April this year.

China's Dawning Information Industry Co. Ltd. announced plans last week to build a supercomputer based on AMD's Opteron processor. The Dawning 4000A will include more than 2,000 Opteron processors, with a total of 2T bytes of RAM and 30T bytes of hard-disk space and is expected to deliver performance of around 10 trillion calculations per second. The Beijing-based company has an order for the machine but has not disclosed the name of the buyer or when the computer will be put into service.

Opteron processors were also chosen for a supercomputer which is likely to displace the AIST machine as the most powerful Linux supercomputer. Cray Inc. is currently constructing a Linux-based supercomputer called Red Storm that is expected to deliver a peak performance of 40 trillion [T] calculations per second when it is delivered in late 2004. Linux developer SuSE is also working with Cray on that machine.

Join the 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.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?