Dell to build fastest Linux supercomputer

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) intends to use more than 1,450 Dell servers in a powerful Linux...

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) plans to use more than 1,450 Dell servers in a powerful Linux supercomputer.

Linux is growing in popularity among supercomputer designers as an operating system for high-performance computing.

IBM and Fujitsu recently unveiled plans to build Linux supercomputers that promised to be the most powerful Linux systems yet devised, until Dell's announcement at Linuxworld in San Francisco.

The NCSA will use 1,280 Dell PowerEdge servers, each with two 3.06GHz Xeon DP processors from Intel, in a cluster running Red Hat Linux, Dell said. The cluster will also use 106 PowerEdge servers for I/O services and storage.

The cluster will produce theoretical peak performance of 17.7 trillion floating point operations per second (T Flops), which would make it the third most powerful supercomputer in the world based on the latest Top 500 list of the world's supercomputers.

The NCSA cluster is scheduled to come online later this year at the NCSA facilities at the University of Illinois.

IBM's Linux supercomputer will use Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor and Intel's Itanium processor to deliver peak theoretical performance of 11.2T Flops.

Fujitsu said it will deliver 12.4T Flops of peak theoretical performance. Both systems are scheduled to be released next March.

Cray will follow with a Linux supercomputer using Opteron processors which is expected to deliver 40T Flops of peak theoretical performance when it is released late in 2004 for Sandia National Laboratories.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at the University of California operates the fastest Linux supercomputer, which was built with clustering technology from Linux Networx. It delivers 11.1 T Flops of peak theoretical performance.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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