View Full Version : XGrid Has Landed ;-)

Ed M.
10-13-2003, 01:38 PM
Virginia Tech currently strung together 1100 dual-2GHz. PowerMac G5 computers running MacOS X. What's more, if the preliminary results are accurate, then the new 'home built' supercomputer currently sits at the #2 position. According to the Top 500 fastest supercomputer list, the Top 5 systems are as follows:

1. Earth Simulator, NEC, Rmax: 35.86 TFlops
2. ASCI Q, LANL, HP HP AlphaServer, Rmax: 13.88 TFlops
3. MCR LINUX Cluster, Linux Networx/Quadrics, Rmax: 7.634 TFlops
4. ASCI White, LLNL, IBM SP Power3, Rmax: 7.304 TFlops
5 Seaborg, NERSC/LBNL, IBM SP Power3, Rmax: 7.304 TFlops

Those results were taken from here:

Quick summary of the notes taken from the article that is found on the BBC here:


- This is the project that has caused heads to turn in the world of Supercomputing. It is, in fact, 1100 brand new Apple G5 towers placed side by side making it the world's most powerful homebuilt system, capable of 17.6 trillion floating point operations per second, with a combined storage capacity of 176 terabytes. Keep in mind that the current #2 spot is held by a machine capable of only 13.88 TFlops.

- The cost of this project for Virginia Tech has come in at 5 million dollars making it rather inexpensive by supercomputing standards. What this says is that Virginia Tech has built one of the world's most powerful Supercomputers for what amounts to peanuts.

- Will be used for big science research; massive simulations, models, computational engineering systems and other massive projects.

- Virginia Tech has revolutionized the world of Supercomputing with a simple, low-cost setup that can be duplicated around the world by other institutions desiring to have such computing power at their disposal.

- Virginia Tech is going to document the entire project from start to finish. If others want to build one then Virginia Tech will send them a kit and tell them how to do it.

That's what I call impressive. The thing that most people should zero-in on is not only the ease at which one of these things was built, but also the timeframe in which it was accomplished! If that isn't enough to cause heads to turn, then perhaps the price-tag this puppy carries will. It's highly inexpensive when compared to the alternatives and the best part is that it's running Mac OS X ;-)

Also, some news from a mailing list reveals some other interesting information...

Consider if you will that the University of Texas just beginning to roll out a $38Million Del l- Linux cluster that will supposedly achieve 3.7 Tflops, and it's not even done yet. They've been working on it for quite some time now.


Now, comparing that to Virginia Tech's $5.2M Apple/Mac OS X cluster that
achieves 17.6 TFlops, constructed in roughly 3 months:

The cost per Tflop can be roughly broken down as follows

Dell - $10.3 Million per/TFlop
Apple - $295,000 per/TFolp

Not bad, eh?


Ed M.
10-13-2003, 01:48 PM
Oh, I almost forgot... I figured that some of you guys would be interested in this:

xgrid-users Info Page


10-13-2003, 02:05 PM
The only thing that annoys me about this is that this is probably the reason why everyone's Dual-G5 orders are delayed for 8 weeks! ;)


Ed M.
10-13-2003, 03:17 PM
I'm surprised Beam didn't pick up on this thread yet lol ;-)