NCSA's Linux supercomputer to test Itanium technology

NCSA's Linux supercomputer to test Itanium technology

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff

JAN. 18—The National Center for Supercomputing Applications has ordered a new Linux-based cluster that will test the large-scale use of Intel Corp.'s 64-bit processor technology.

NCSA, a research center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign funded by the National Science Foundation, has been working with Intel and IBM Corp. to plan the deployment of the not-yet-released Itanium processor, NCSA director Dan Reed said.

The supercomputer will consist of two clusters, each with a theoretical peak performance of 1 trillion floating-point operations per second. The first cluster, scheduled to be up and running by the end of February, will consist of 512 IBM eServer x330 nodes, each containing two 1-GHz Intel Pentium III processors. The second cluster, slated for installation in June, will contain 160 nodes, each with two 800-MHz Itanium chips.

The 64-bit Itanium processors, which have been in development for several years, are scheduled to ship sometime during the first half of 2001.

A Myrinet high-speed network from Myricom Inc. of Arcadia, Calif., will link the servers and clusters. Several other high-performance Linux clusters already use 32-bit Myrinet interconnects, but the NCSA system will be the first to use 64-bit Myrinet technology, Reed said.

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