Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virginia Tech Edging Towards Finish Line In The Supercomputer Race

Date:
September 23, 2003
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Virginia Tech is building a supercomputer that “will arguably be one of the world’s cheapest world class supercomputers. The system will also be the most powerful homebuilt supercomputer in the world,” said Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech, speaking at the Fifth Annual Commonwealth of Virginia’s Information Technology Symposium.

Virginia Tech is building a supercomputer that “will arguably be one of the world’s cheapest world class supercomputers. The system will also be the most powerful homebuilt supercomputer in the world,” said Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech, speaking at the Fifth Annual Commonwealth of Virginia’s Information Technology Symposium (COVITS).

Related Articles


Steger acknowledged that Virginia Tech is in a supercomputing race. And the finish line is a moving target. It may come at the end of this week, but no later than Oct. 1.

One of Virginia Tech’s engineering faculty members, Srinidhi Varadarajan, and his colleagues are building a groundbreaking, low-cost, very high-speed terascale supercomputer. This supercomputer will be one of international prominence, yet based upon a homegrown cluster using off-the-shelf industry components.

For the past three months, the group has been working around the clock, seven days a week to complete this project by Oct. 1.

They are tying together 1,100 of Apple’s new G5 desktop computers to achieve top-dollar performance. Tech’s strategy is a departure from monolithic mainframe supercomputing and is using a less-expensive but reliable configuration.

Virginia Tech’s new solution for creating supercomputing clusters will cost about one/tenth of what most supercomputers cost. As such, this supercomputer should serve as a model that will allow other universities, who are not in the supercomputer game, to own their own facilities.

Virginia Tech’s costs – spread out over a five year period – will be $5.2 million. Put in perspective, that’s a cost of $1 million a year. And last year, Tech’s College of Engineering alone attracted more than $100 million dollars in research expenditures. The new supercomputer is expected to bring to Virginia Tech numerous big science research projects that it did not have the resources for previously.

Varadarajan is also the developer of “Dιjΰ vu,” a software package that brings stability to large clusters. He is incorporating this software into the 1100-node cluster, making Tech’s supercomputer the only one in the world currently operating with this software solution to a 20-year old reliability problem. The National Science Foundation (NSF) supported Varadarajan’s work in the development of Dιjΰ vu.

The reason Virginia Tech is racing to assemble this supercomputer by Oct. 1 is this date is the deadline for the next contest that will rank the world's top supercomputers. “We believe we will have one of the top-ranked supercomputing facilities in the world when the project is completed,” Steger reiterated.

Virginia Tech’s partners for building this supercomputer in less than three months are Apple, Mellanox, Cisco, and Liebert. Mellanox is the leading provider of the InfiniBand semiconductor technology, the primary communications fabric, drivers, cards, and switches for the project. Cisco’s Gigabit Ethernet switches were the choice for the secondary communications fabric to interconnect the cluster. Cisco provided a significant educational discount to support the project. Liebert, a division of Emerson Network Power, known for its comprehensive range of protection systems for sensitive electronics, provided the cooling system.

Virginia Tech students have volunteered hundreds of hours to help set up 19.25 tons of computers, routers, and other equipment.

When Virginia Tech is successful in launching its supercomputer later this month, “We will be among the few universities that will be able to effectively compete for the Cyberinfrastructure funds. This proposed National Science Foundation program is scheduled to have a $1 billion annual budget,” Steger added.

Virginia Tech is already a participant in the National Lambda Rail, a consortium of leading U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies. National Lambda Rail has launched a project that is a national facilities-based approach for optical networking and network research. This initiative is tying together multiple clusters via very high performance networks for computational science – big science – problems. Virginia Tech plays a leading role in this project.

More information about the Terascale supercomputing project can be found at: http://computing.vt.edu/research_computing/terascaleMore information about the National Lambda Rail project can be found at: http://www.nationallambdarail.org


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Virginia Tech Edging Towards Finish Line In The Supercomputer Race." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030923070147.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2003, September 23). Virginia Tech Edging Towards Finish Line In The Supercomputer Race. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030923070147.htm
Virginia Tech. "Virginia Tech Edging Towards Finish Line In The Supercomputer Race." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030923070147.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Inbox Is The Latest Gmail Competitor

Google's Inbox Is The Latest Gmail Competitor

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Google's new e-mail app is meant for greater personalization and allows users to better categorize their mail, but Gmail isn't going away just yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins