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Virginia Tech Announces Supercomputer Plans

pudge posted more than 10 years ago | from the i-got-dibs-when-they-are-done-with-it dept.

Technology (Apple) 419

CousinVinnie writes "Previously noted in this Slashdot story, the administration of Virginia Tech has announced they're puchasing 1100 G5's (another story) in hopes to build a top-10 supercomputer by October 1. Tech will be spending $5.2 million over five years on the project, which should help it pull in more research money." Maybe VT can use the new computers to beef up their web site.

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419 comments

1,2,3,4 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861437)

Get me a filthy whore!

Re:1,2,3,4 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861690)

Your mom is on her way over

Love,
Dad

repeat story (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861441)

This story was up no more than a week ago.

This is quite cool but... (4, Interesting)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861447)

Does anyone know who else was considered for this contract? I'd love to see the arguments for the different platforms!

-WS

Re:This is quite cool but... (5, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861535)

Itanium: er, um, we have a new architecture! I think RedHat has a port to it.

G5: We have a PowerPc system that has been extended to use 64 bits. Your old software will run. Your new software will run faster. We have MacOSx, BSD, and Linux available, natively compiled.

There is also something to be said for the G5's parallel memory busses. It divides the ram in half, each half feeding 32 bits of the processor. You could theoretically keep your instructions on one side and data on the other, and pipeline the snot out of it.

Re:This is quite cool but... (2, Informative)

heh2k (84254) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861724)

There is also something to be said for the G5's parallel memory busses. It divides the ram in half, each half feeding 32 bits of the processor.

multibanked ram is nothing new. it's been around since the 486 days for consumers (iirc), and much earlier in big machines, i'm sure. afaik, most mobosthese days are at least 128bits wide. my alpha (up2000+) is 256.

You could theoretically keep your instructions on one side and data on the other, and pipeline the snot out of it.

which would just be slower. 8)

Re:This is quite cool but... (3, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861725)

Itanium: er, um, we have a new architecture! I think RedHat has a port to it.

I admin a cluster of Itaniums. They are very fast and have not had one single hint of a problem with them.

To me, something that is completely unacceptable about the G5s for scientific use is that the machines do not support ECC memory!

My users run up to 5 days at a time across 8-10 processors, and its not cool to get a wrong answer after that run, and possibly never know about it.

I personally would not care to admin a cluster of Macs. I think they are excellent machines, but not for science.

Re:This is quite cool but... (5, Interesting)

Kalak (260968) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861541)

Dell and HP were considered, and Apple won based to a large degree on delivery date. There are more issues to computing than benchmarks, and in the issue of deliverability, Apple won. If you RTFA on the CT, they say it was on the speed and memory of the G5, but the geek grape vine, and hints from the Roanoke times article said availability to get it up in time to make the next top 500 comuter listing we big factors.

Both Dell and HP have recently announced large clusters, so that may be why they were unable to deliver in time.

Re:This is quite cool but... (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861662)

Does anyone know who else was considered for this contract? I'd love to see the arguments for the different platforms!

Well, considering that the G5 has many of the architectural features of those $40k SGI Octanes that I purchased a few years ago, I would consider that pretty impressive. In short, Apple designed the G5 machines with completely independent busses, so that saturating say an I/O bus will not have any effect on the throughput of say memory to CPU. They are pretty impressive and I can see why many folks who are currently using the Octanes etc... would want new G5's.

So, you have a UNIX box with true plug and play, 64-bit, nice GUI, full CLI access, Firewire, USB, REALLY nice archetecture etc...etc...etc... All that makes for a pretty convincing argument for clusters moving to the G5's

Argument for G5 here. (5, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861706)

I'd love to see the arguments for the different platforms!

I think the argument for G5 came from here [mac.com] .

Re:Argument for G5 here. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861747)

Do one of those come with every G5?
If so I'm switching platforms!!

Yikes.. (2, Interesting)

knghtrider (685985) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861454)

1100 G5's...that should corner the market for about a week...and give Apple a small boost to it's bottom line..

Virginia Tech (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861458)

VA Tech is a redneck school in an awful redneck town (Blacksburg). Why should they get a supercomputer? Maybe they should stick to making moonshine and hemp bracelets.

Re:Virginia Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861487)

They need the power to play duck hunt, bitch. Shut up.

Re:Virginia Tech (1)

splatter (39844) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861525)

humm someone have a problem with rednecks?
Maybe a little to close to home? Or is the poster from WVA?

Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861544)

Poster went to William and Mary - which might suck even worse than VA Tech. Virginia is a police state, and its state colleges are underfunded havens for rednecks and trenchcoat mafia style rejects from NoVA.

cray (3, Funny)

pheared (446683) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861464)

Burns: [throws his glass at Homer]
You call this Postum?
[bashes a 5-feet high pile of paper]
Burns: You call this a tax return?
[bangs a CRAY with his cane]
Burns: You call this a supercomputer?

PC Upgrade Woes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861470)

I have recently upgraded from a Cyrix M3/233 with 64 Megs of RAM to a new 3 GHz Intel Pentium IV with HyperThreading and Serial-ATA to help me at my freelance gig where I copy a 17 Meg file from one folder on the hard drive to another folder. On the P4 I spent about 20 minutes trying to install Adobe Arcobat 6. 20 minutes. At home, on my PowerMac 4400 with a 233 MHz G3 upgrade, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this PC, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

In addition, during this file transfer, my Nomad Jukebox will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even IE is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on various PCs, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a PC that has run faster than its Mac counterpart, despite the x86's faster chip architecture. My PowerMac 4400 with MacOS 8.2, a three row extension startup and Kaliedoscope runs faster than this P4 3GHz machine at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the wintel is a superior machine.

Wintel addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a wintel over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

Re:PC Upgrade Woes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861595)

I laugh every time I see this...truly a classic.

Re:PC Upgrade Woes (0, Redundant)

orionware (575549) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861601)

I just installed Acrobat 6 on an athlon 800Mhz we have here and it installed in about 80 seconds.

You have either:

a) a serious hardware issue with the P4 machine

or

b) a tendency to lie in an effort to boost the mac image

Since you say you upgraded from a Cyrix M3/233 you might just be a simple moron since they haven't made that chip in God knows how many years and it was a shit architecture as well.

The whole story is dubious as why would you buy a p4 serial ata to help you at your freelance gig where you "copy a 17 meg file from one folder on the hard drive to another folder"?

Performance comparisons... (5, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861473)

The comparison is like Apples to Oranges. Most people end up asking "Orange you going to build a beowulf cluster of those Apples?"

Don'y let us find out where you live... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861530)

... or else you'll be the victim of a drive-by fruiting!

Re:Don'y let us find out where you live... (-1, Flamebait)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861562)

Don'y let us find out where you live ... or else you'll be the victim of a drive-by fruiting!

What, is a queer guy going to redecorate my house?

You should watch out (4, Funny)

jbarket (530468) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861742)

Jokes like this can get you put away in the punatentury for a very, very long time.

Re:Performance comparisons... (3, Funny)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861772)

I hear this comparison of apples and oranges all the time.

Aren't both fruits that grow from trees?

How about comparing sea water and comets?

Maybe... (4, Funny)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861474)

Maybe Apple will use this G5 cluster against a single-processor itanium to show that, yes, they ARE the fastest personal computer!

The only problem will be finding a desk big enough to fit the guys...

Re:Maybe... (4, Funny)

jmenezes (100986) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861536)

Well, reguardless of the performance of the itanium vs. the G5 cluster, at least you'll be saving on your electricity bill by going with the 1100 G5s....

Re:Maybe... (2, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861616)

This is college. I'm sure some engineering students would have adapted the heat sinks on the Itanium into a whisky still or an expresso machine.

(Sigh) Quitters.

A duppity dupe dupe (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861486)

Wow, if you looked in the apple section it was the second story down, I can even see both at the same time at 1024x768.

http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/3 0/ 1838222&mode=thread&tid=107&tid=137&tid=18 7

Overpriced G5s (0, Insightful)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861491)

Overpriced G5s for what? Instead of buying 1 G5, you could set up 4 top-of-the-line AMD processors, cluster it using Myrinet.. and all that would probably cost about as much or slightly more than G5. Apple may have a good processor that is one of the highest performers... but it costs way too much to be worth it.

Re:Overpriced G5s (4, Insightful)

SeanAhern (25764) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861527)

Wait a minute - you're complaining about the cost of a G5, but go on to suggest they buy a Myrinet, a rather expensive interconnect. Something doesn't compute here.

Re:Overpriced G5s (2, Insightful)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861548)

Was just trying to point out that even with an expensive interconnect such as Myrinet, the economics of apple just doesn't work out. But then, even if you are using a cluster of G5s, to get any reasonable super-computing power out of it, you would need a low latency (expensive) interconnect.

Re:Overpriced G5s (4, Insightful)

SeanAhern (25764) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861711)

to get any reasonable super-computing power out of it, you would need a low latency (expensive) interconnect.

Well, that very much depends on what type of computing you're doing. Some scientific computing is more tolerant of high-latency environments and would rather have the bandwidth.

I can't seem to find the quote from any of the articles right now, but VT is planning on using an Infiniband interconnect from Mellanox. While I don't know the relative price points, they are touting the fact that this is a high-speed interconnect that's faster than Myrinet or Quadrics at a fraction of the cost. I can't say for sure, since the Infiniband cluster we're helping to build at Stanford is not yet assembled.

This should be interesting to watch. I'll be very interested to see the $/gigaflop ratio for VT's cluster (though that doesn't have a bearing on the interconnect).

Re:Overpriced G5s (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861640)

Well, there is the small matter of thermal dissipation--heat to polysyllabically-challenged types like yourself. Those AMDs you're babbling about would cook themselves; the traditional advantage of PowerPC processors for clustering is in the fact that they run MUCH cooler.

Even if you could make the AMD-based cluster run, you'd have spent so much on cooling that the G5s would end up being cheaper. Just ask DOD...

maybe not as cheap as you think (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861715)

Just the motherboard and chip for a dual 1.6 GHz opteron runs you $1394.99 [pricewatch.com] if you need PCI-X (which is probably necessary with the interconnect you want). And on top of that, you need the network cards, memory, case, hard drives, etc. etc.

You could easily get to Apple prices going with AMD.

Apple ... supercomputer...? (2, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861492)

Not to sound like a troll, but isn't the Apple a bad machine to use for this? It's big, the fan configuration will make it extrordinarily loud, and it's built to cater to the end user, not to the embedded machine market. Yes, OSX/Darwin does work fairly well, but I'd think that the entire purpose of this computer originally would make it ill-suited to this task.

Many companies build physically smaller machines that still pack a lot of power, or sell parts to allow someone to design their own layout in a chassis. Remember, individual cases, power supplies, and the like become way overkill in such a large computer, and it would probably be cheaper to convert electricity once for a large section of the computer, supplying 12v, 5v, and 3.3v without each computer converting itself.

This just seems like the wrong way to do something thats hallmark has been in being cheap.

Re:Apple ... supercomputer...? (3, Funny)

tesmako (602075) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861571)

Oh nos!1!! The supercomputer will be all loud and stuffs! Whatever shall we do? It will be a pain to play quake on it and ecverything. A monumental failure this.

Re:Apple ... supercomputer...? (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861664)

"Oh nos!1!! The supercomputer will be all loud and stuffs! Whatever shall we do? It will be a pain to play quake on it and ecverything. A monumental failure this." I nominate tesmako as the first computer operator to have to sit in the 100+ decibel room for the first eight hour shift...

I'm sure Apple DONATED or SUBSIDIZED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861719)

these machines for the publicity.

That's the only explanation that makes sense.

Too expensive (-1, Troll)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861495)

The same raw power can be derived from Opteron CPUs (perhaps more) at a far lesser price. The associated hardware is cheaper as well.

Why did the VA Tech crew opt to waste at least $1,000,000 just to use G5's? I would be highly upset if I was an alumni and knew that some of my tuition tax was going to this Macintosh fan boy's wet dream.

Re:Too expensive (2, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861590)

G5: Deliverable today

Opteron: Still under development.

Now tell me, on the Good/Fast/Cheap curve you design parameters lie?

Pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861744)

Lies. Opteron boxes has been shipping for some time now.

The money came from a grant (1)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861615)

The alumni have other causes to spend their money on, like renovations to the football stadium.

Re:The money came from a grant (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861686)

You seem to forget that football is useless.

But WHY? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861497)

Why on earth would anyone want to put together 1100 substandard processors like the G5?

Re:But WHY? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861555)

Since it's based on a Power4 core, I think you should ask IBM that...

Re:But WHY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861767)

Since it's based on a Power4 core, I think you should ask IBM that...

it's not

Benchmarks? (0, Offtopic)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861498)

<steve_jobs field_type="distortion">
So, would this be like 2200 p4s running at 10ghz?
</steve_jobs>

g5 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861500)

thats nice, but when will apple ship my 2ghz g5 to me?!

Anyone have any real specs? (4, Interesting)

anzha (138288) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861507)

So far we've seen that it's a cluster and what the building blocks are. What's the interconnect? What's the OS? What are the nodes using for a network filesystem? Are they at all? Is this intended for parallel jobs or for embarassingly parallel work?

Re:Anyone have any real specs? (4, Interesting)

mfago (514801) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861652)

The interconnect is Infiniband by Mellanox [mellanox.com] . These things get 10Gbps bandwidth with 6us latency under MPI. Very decent stuff. There is more information at the site above.

Note that 1100*$3000 = $3M. This doesn't include the 4GB RAM, but also doesn't include any volume discounts. Thus the interconnect may cost about $2M.

Oh, and to the guy who said "4 Athlons + Myranet is the same price as one G5" -- can I have some of what you're smoking?

Re:Anyone have any real specs? (1)

Kalak (260968) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861700)

OS is SuSE as it supports Infiniband.

"Slow Down Cowboy"
And now I'm typing to wait on /. to let me post this post that is something that might be relevant and on topic so others can post noise.

Read the previous /. article first (1)

bodrell (665409) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861510)

There was a lot of inside info from people who work at Virginia Tech or go to school there. Lots of speculation and rumor, too, if you're into that sort of thing.

enjoy your tuition increases kids (0, Troll)

rtphokie (518490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861515)

Hopefully they'll build a nice big window so all the students can see this beo^H^H^Hcluster of macs. Besure to leave the blinds up though because these same students will be working 2 part time jobs just to afford tuition.

what are they going to name it? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861516)

hmm, what to name a mac-based supercomputer?

deep-pink.

you FUCKING PUDGE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861520)

fucking pudge, you place a dupe story and even link to the original.... is this a new low for slashdot, or a new high?

why g5 (0)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861521)

support microsoft! do it with ten times as many xboxes!

:) But seriously why would they specifically choose g5's....they must have done a bit of research before dropping 5 million on them

Re:why g5 (1)

dema (103780) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861539)

i would guess they have a higher-up who is a mac fan that was probably pushing them, only because it's rare to see such a setup with macs.

Re:why g5 (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861668)

is it 5 million dollars worthwhile rareness?

I would buy some rare *insert collector item here* and make a normal faster/cheaper/better cluster!!!

1100 G5s or PC processors ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861533)

... is probably equivalent to 1 (well, maybe 2) IBM System/390s.

Re:1100 G5s or PC processors ... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861588)

the system/390 is based on power4 cpus, isn't it? The G5 is based on a power4 core. I don't see your logic.

As another /. user pointed out, G5's do have an upgrade path. It's an IBM mainframe...

Obligitory Troll (5, Funny)

Maskirovka (255712) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861538)

Slashdot summary:
1) Itaniums are for pussies.
2) Go Apple!
3) Opterons still kick the G5's butt.
4) I can't wait to run doom3 on my backordered G5.
5) People griping about apples proprietary hardware and software, and how this cluster could have been built cheaper from oem parts, and ebay ethernet hubs.
6)Dumb lists summarizing other trolls.

Re:Obligitory Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861565)

7)Replies to lists summarizing other trolls.

Re:Obligitory Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861602)

>6)Dumb lists summarizing other trolls.

Shouldn't we should go recursive on his post and hence score it "-1, redundant"?

Well, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861547)

I, for one, welcome our new supercomputer overlords. I advise everyone in the viewing area to hide their toy wintel boxes lest they risk offending or benevolent masters.

They want to play duck hunt, idiots! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861554)

Are you people stupid. Virginia Tech needs Duck Hunt, they are going to serve it out to thin clients, and use the computer to make a simulation of a forest. The thin clients are modified NES systems. They added ETHERNET! They have to have a hard sex with aligator. WOW! It's their new ciriculum. The kids have to be able to shoot low render quality ducks with light guns, don't you people get it?

Memory ? (1)

hopbine (618442) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861608)

From one of the articles "For the supercomputer to break the top five supercomputers in the world, it would have to possess 10 teraflops of memory."

It's obviously why Apple (1, Insightful)

orionware (575549) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861623)

I would bet Apple would gladly cut a fantastic deal to get their model in the news as being part of one of the fasters supercomputers. They likely paid very little for the hardware.

It's a no brainer...

Re:It's obviously why Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861679)

Yeah, they aren't paying for much. Just to get their dicks sucked by you.

PowerMac G5s? (5, Interesting)

foo fighter (151863) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861624)

Why aren't they waiting for the Xserve update? Rhetorical question, but still...

I haven't seen one, but it looks like the PowerMac G5s are about 4U wide. 1100 x 4U = 4400U / 42 per rack ~= 105 racks.

Not only is this going to take up an enormous amount of room, but the power and cooling requirements are going to be crazy as well. And they don't have rails so getting them in the racks, and working on them once in the rack, is going to be a PITA.

1100 G5 Xserves would need only about 25 racks. Many fewer UPSes and A/C units to power in each rack. Much easier to install and work on.

I know Apple is gung-ho about this validating their "Fastest PC Ever" claims. But it seems a little poorly thought out on the University's part even if they got a sweet up-front price on the machines. Remember: the system price is a small part of TCO.

Re:PowerMac G5s? (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861674)

When your are ordering 1100 of them, I'm pretty sure Apple with throw in the rack mount hardware. For all we know, they are getting a special production run with a custom case.

Re:PowerMac G5s? (1)

mfago (514801) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861697)

I agree that an Xserve G5 would be much more space efficient, but remember that VT supposedly went with Apple over HP/Dell because of ship date.

Their Website (2, Interesting)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861632)

Pudge thinks their website isn't good enough. What does he want? Some flash? Maybe some pop up ads to spice it up. Whatever happen to simple being good and fancy being woooo pretty but useless. Oh wait, that still hasn't changed.

Not really a dupe (2, Interesting)

Kalak (260968) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861660)

This isn't really a dupe, as this is a mention of the first official words form the school on the subject. Officials are finally speaking (and in some cases backing off) of the cluster in public.

Floppy memory?? (2, Insightful)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861672)

From the second article:
For the supercomputer to break the top five supercomputers in the world, it would have to possess 10 teraflops of memory.

I think that they mean 10teraflops of computing power, as opposed to 10terabytes of memory -- since the later would require each CPU to have 10GB of ram in it. Nonetheless, the anomaly tells me that this is a reporter not used to computer issues. (too few computer geeks at the college paper).

And the next day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861676)


And the next day, Apple lowered the price of the G5 by $150, and doubled the RAM, HD space, and included DVD-recorders.

Ever changing focus shift.. (5, Insightful)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861687)

Anyone get the feeling that Apple might be pulling a Be, Inc and is trying to pull off a focus-shift?

Remember Be, the "multimedia" OS turned "Internet Appliance". Remember the death of Be. (damn, that stings. I miss the BeOS.)

Now witness Apple:
For decades, seemingly the darling of the press-production (DTP) world, catering to artists of all magnitudes, it was the computer you used to create real, bona-fide art. It attracted the freaks, the hippies, the art chicks. For many people, this was unnerving. Different people get "different" looks.
Now who's Apple targetting?
With OS X, I'm thinking geeks. We're different people, too, but in a, well, different manner. Instead of the artists, Apple's going for traditional suits, the realm of IT. It may be a matter of sheer survival that Apple penetrates here, because they don't stand a chance in these days of "homogenous" work environments.. Out with Apple (even if it works) and in with Dell WinXP machines! Linux faces the same dilemna, although Linux has some other benefits/detriments for it's widespread adoption. If Apple can show it's worth in the server room (just like Linux is doing), then maybe, just maybe, they'll start looking at Apple on the corporate desktop (just like Linux is doing).
Now, the idea of catering to suits is somewhat.. frightening. The whole damn market is different. They don't care about "look and feel", they care about numbers (see economic downturn, outsourcing to India, massive layoffs, H1B abuse, etc). This means Apple will have to change from being "cool" to utilitarian. But wait, I think I just painted myself into a corner here... Wasn't that the point of Apple? To be a tool and not an obstacle? Instead of creating computer art, we're now creating databases? Maybe Apple is on to something here...

Are they buying the chips from Apple or IBM (1)

hshana (657854) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861696)

because I know that Georgia is buying a 256 node cluster and at least some of them will be G5's from IBM running linux.

woohoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6861698)

well at least my $56k in tuition went to some good

"Beef up their Website" (4, Insightful)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861738)

Can someone explain the " Maybe VT can use the new computers to beef up their web site" comment? It loads perfectly fast [vt.edu] for me. It looks pretty good. It even runs PHP, so it couldn't be a "They shouldn't use ColdFusion" type remark.

Am I missing something, or was that just a completely random comment?

I agree (1)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861763)

I just graduated from there and that website, while not ugly, is non-sensically arranged and the search comes up with some of the most ridiculous links. The department does have some nice clusters already set up though as well as a sweet 3d visualization studio [vt.edu] !

Sounds fine (3, Insightful)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#6861768)

There are a bunch of people posting gripes that this was a bad idea. But I don't think it's that bad. We should at least withold judgment until we see some data. One thing's for certain, it will outperform YOUR cluster.

Among the top complaints were:

You could buy several AMD's for that.
You might be able to, but the G5's they are buying already have 2 very good processors. As long as they're dividing up tasks among processors, it's nice to have all the memory management and overhead taken care of at a level of two processors per node instead of one. To be honest, I've never seen it done before, and it could have very interesting results.

The Mac's aren't designed for this sort of thing.
We don't know all the details of this cluster because they weren't all mentioned in the story, but my hunch is that Apple might cater to them a little if they are offering to dump $5 mill on a cluster. They might package the cases differently (sans curvy plastic or with shared power supplies).

Anyway, when it comes to speed of high precision calculations, the G* chips have proven their worth. And most High Science applications fall into that range of operation. We all know that clustering and distrubuting is touchy. The cost and speed don't scale linearly. And the cost vs speed ratio definately doesn't scale literally.

There is a possibility these computer science professors know something. So we might want to see how this thing performs before we rush to judgement.
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