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Penguin powers the Army

Feb 23, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* U.S. Army defense lab installs Linux supercomputing cluster

A U.S. Army defense laboratory will install the largest Linux supercomputing cluster this year – a 2,132-processor system from Linux Networx. The platform was chosen by the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) and will be installed this year at the Army Research Laboratory Major Shared Resource Center (MSRC).

The Linux cluster will consist of 1,066 machines running dual Intel Xeon 3.6 GHz processors with Intel 64-bit extension technology. This chip-technology allows 32-bit Intel processors to access larger amounts of memory, and to run with 64-bit operating system, such as Red Hat and SuSE’s 64-bit Linux. The clustered system, when deployed, will be the largest Intel-based Linux supercomputer in production, according to Linux Networx and the Army.

The machine, which completed a year of benchmark test before deployment, will support the U.S. Army’s research efforts involved with the modernization of the armed forces. This could include compute intensive simulations and modeling of new materials, processes, tactics and other Army-related research efforts.

The dual-processor machines will be tied together with a mix of high-speed interconnect gear from Myricom, specifically its Myrinet channel interconnect modules. Gigabit Ethernet switches from Foundry networks will also be used in node interconnect, and network access technologies for the supercomputer cluster. 

On the control side, Linux Networx ICE BOX management tools will be used to manage and administer cluster nodes. This allows machines to be powered on and off for maintenance without affecting cluster processes or performance. The customized Linux builds used on the machines are tied together using Linux Networx Clusterworx software, which allows applications and processes to be sliced up and distributed to nodes in the supercomputer.