Army lab signs deal for massive Linux cluster

The Army is purchasing a 2,132-processor Linux cluster for its most demanding research projects.

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

Depending on benchmark results, the system could rank among the 10 or 15 fastest computers in the world.

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, which will be the largest such system in DOD, will be devoted to weapons design and research, Nietubicz said.

Each of the 1,066 nodes will contain 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-capable Xeon chips were ready, the system will be installed this August, Nietubicz said.

Last year the Army lab acquired a 256-processor Linux Networx cluster and named it after secretary of State Colin Powell (Click for GCN story). 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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