Virginia Tech Builds 10 TeraFlop Computer
Mellanox Technologies has announced, in conjunction with Virginia Tech, the deployment, performance results and ranking for Virginia Tech’s 1105 node InfiniBand computing cluster. The performance result achieves a #3 position on the new Top500 Supercomputer list. Leveraging the InfiniBand interconnect and Apple Power Mac G5 computers, Virginia Tech was able to build the system in less than four months for only $5.2 million — less than one tenth the average cost of comparable systems.
This InfiniBand cluster is reporting 10.28 TeraFlops, is the most powerful computer at any educational institution in the world. Previous systems in the top 5 have typically cost well over $50M, and the #1 and #2 systems in this list each cost well over $100M. Mellanox and Virginia Tech have clearly demonstrated that industry standard clusters provide huge compute capabilities at a fraction of the cost.
“The decision to use industry standard 10 Gb/sec InfiniBand technology for the high performance interconnect was absolutely the right choice for this record breaking cluster,” says Dr. Srinidhi Varadarajan, of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. “The InfiniBand interconnect has performed flawlessly for Virginia Tech. InfiniBand has scaled beyond our expectations enabling us to deploy this cluster in record time, at a record low cost while setting a new performance standard for the world to follow.”
The cluster features the G5 using PowerPC 64-bit processors running at 2GHz each, complemented by an incredible 4.4 TeraBytes of total system memory. All 1105 cluster nodes are interconnected with 10 Gb/sec ultra low latency InfiniBand links through twenty-four 96-Port InfiniBand switches, utilizing copper cables from Amphenol. The performance results of 10.28 TeraFlops was submitted to the Top500.org and has received an official ranking on the new list published at the SC2003 (SuperComputing) Conference in Phoenix. The cluster runs on Mac OS X, Virginia Tech utilities, and MVAPICH (MPI for InfiniBand) developed by the Department of Computer and Information Science at Ohio State University.
“The scalability and performance of InfiniBand has enabled Virginia Tech to quickly build one of the most powerful computing facilities in the world from inexpensive industry standard servers. This cluster is truly a breakthrough event in computing,” said Eyal Waldman, CEO for Mellanox. “Virginia Tech and Mellanox have achieved a feat that proves it is possible to achieve massive computational power quickly and at a fraction of the cost.”