Apple chosen for supercomputing cluster

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will build an Infiniband cluster using Apple's new dual-processor Power Mac...

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will build an Infiniband cluster using Apple's new dual-processor Power Mac computer with the 64-bit G5 processor.

When it is completed, the cluster of 1,100 nodes is expected to rank among the most powerful in the world, according to Virginia Tech. The university has been working with Apple for several months to adapt the new Power Mac for its cluster.

The Apple cluster will be based at Virginia Tech's Computing Center and will be used by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at the university.

Mellanox Technologies supplied the I/O fabric, drivers, cards and switches for the cluster. Cisco Systems provided the Gigabit Ethernet switches and Liebert, a division of Emerson Electric, supplied the cooling system.

Clustering technology is a popular choice of educational institutions that want to deploy supercomputing power without spending a great deal of money on a large machine. Apple's new G5 is said to offer excellent floating-point performance, a key requirement of many scientific computing applications.

Shipments of dual-processor Power Macs to regular customers were supposed to start in late August, but many users have reported on Apple enthusiast sites that their shipments have been delayed.

Apple said the new Power Macs are currently shipping, and the company is ramping shipments of the dual-processor model up to production volumes over the next two weeks.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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