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SuSE and Cray team up to develop computer for US department

SuSE Linux has been selected by high-end supercomputer supplier Cray to play an integral role in developing the US Department of Energy's parallel processing computer, called Red Storm.

Red Storm is expected to be used for applications such as simulations of US nuclear stockpiles and will use AMD's 64-bit Opteron processor in concert with a high bandwidth, low latency internal switching architecture.

The system will not be operational until late 2004.

SuSE said it won the contract because of its experience with 64-bit Linux-based operating system implementations as well as its delivery of clustering technology for Intel's Itanium processor.

"It is not surprising if you consider we are the only ones out there to run a 64-bit architecture, and we do have a lot of know-how in clustering already. I think they needed someone who could help them with both development and technical support," said Holger Dyroff, US general manager of SuSE.

Dyroff said the implementation for the upcoming system would likely be SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.0 and be based on the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel.

Cray executives said that SuSE's existing products and support made it an attractive technology partner for the project.

"We picked SuSE Linux enterprise server and AMD 64 because it combines Linux with an architecture for high-performance computing," said Wayne Kugel, Cray's executive of operations for the Red Storm project. "We think SuSE Linux is a strong operating system for high-performance computing."

Based on existing supercomputer projects, SuSE and Cray claimed Red Storm would be the fastest supercomputer in the US.

The deal should also strengthen the momentum Intel and Intel-compatible chip makers are establishing among the world's fastest supercomputers. A recent report has shown that among the world's 500 fastest supercomputers, Intel-based systems now make up 119 of that number, up from 56 just the year before.

"The Intel and AMD chips have by far the best price performance ratio at this point in time, which is the major reason for its growing dominance," Dyroff said

Ed Scannell writes for IDG News Service.


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