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Virginia Tech assembles a supercomputer.

At the SuperComputing 2003 Conference held in November, participants learned about the new supercomputer at Virginia Tech. The school's supercomputer, named X for its design goal of 10 teraflops, is the fastest university supercomputer, and the third fastest in the world behind Japan's Earth Simulator and the Los Alamos National Laboratory's ASCI Q dedicated weapons computer.

The Virginia Tech supercomputer tan theoretically handle 17 trillion operations per second, which project team member Jason Lockhart calls "truly amazing" considering that it was essentially put together in two months. Virginia Tech teamed with Apple, Mellanox Technologies, Liebert (a division of Emerson Network Power) and Cisco to create X. They selected Apple's new Power Mac G5 running Mac OS X as the framework for the cluster. Mellanox supplied the primary communications fabric, drivers, cards and switches. Cisco's Gigabit Ethernet switches were used for the secondary communications fabric to interconnect the cluster, and Liebert's high-density rack-mounted cooling system and computer racks, along with power distribution equipment, were specifically designed for the cluster.

Another remarkable aspect of the Virginia Tech supercomputer is the price tag, cited as $5.2 million. Japan's supercomputer is estimated to have cost $350 million to $400 million, with an upward figure of $1 billion when support for the entire resource is added.

For more information, visit www.vt.edu.
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Title Annotation:Information Technology Update
Publication:Techniques
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Words:219
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