Army lab plans 2,132-processor Linux cluster

The Army has ordered up a massive new Linux cluster for its most demanding weapons design and research projects.

The 2,132-processor cluster, from Linux Networx Inc. of Bluffdale, Utah, will have a theoretical peak speed of 14.2 trillion floating-point operations per second, said Charles Nietubicz, acting deputy director of the Army Research Laboratory's computation and informational sciences directorate.

Depending on benchmark results, the system could be one of the 10 or 15 fastest computers in the world as ranked semiannually by www.top500.org.

The new Linux system will reside at the Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Md., one of the four major shared resource centers of the Defense Department's High-Performance Computing Modernization Program.

The cluster will be the largest such system in DOD, Nietubicz said. Funding for the cluster, which was not disclosed, came from the HPC Modernization Program's Technology Insertion 2004 program.

Each of the cluster's 1,066 nodes will have two 3.6-GHz Intel Xeon processors with Intel Corp.'s recently announced 64-bit extension technology and 2G of RAM. Because lab officials wanted to wait until the 64-bit Xeon chips were ready, the system will not be installed until August, Nietubicz said.

Only 1,024 nodes are compute nodes. The cluster will also have eight log-in nodes, two administration nodes and 32 storage I/O nodes.

Last year the Army lab acquired a 256-processor Linux Networx cluster and named it after secretary of State Colin Powell.

The larger cluster will be named in honor of computer science pioneer John von Neumann, who served on an advisory panel to the Army lab in the 1940s.

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