Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Factual 'Big Mac' Results

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the whole-lotta-clock-cycles dept.

Technology (Apple) 566

danigiri writes "Finally Varadarajan has put some hard facts on the speed of the VT 'Big Mac' G5 cluster. Undoubtedly after some weeks of tuning and optimization, the home-brewn supercluster is happily rolling around at 9.555 TFlops in LINPACK. The revelations were made by the parallel computing voodoo master himself at the O'Reilly Mac OS X conference. It seems they are expecting and additional 10% speed boost after some more tweaking. Srinidhi received standing ovations from the audience. Wired news is also running a cool news piece on it. Lots of juicy technical and cost details not revealed before. Myth dispelling redux: yes, VT paid full price, yes, it's running Mac OS X Jaguar (soon Panther), yes, errors in RAM are accounted for, Varadarajan was not an Apple fanboy in the least... read the articles for more booze."

cancel ×

566 comments

Slashdot is dying. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351700)

Slashdot is dying.

It is official; Webalizer statistics now confirms: Slashdot is dying.

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Andover.Net when Cmdr Taco confirmed that their servers have gone offline yet again, now down to less than a fraction their functionality when he was unmarried. Coming on the heels of a recent Kuro5hin survey which plainly states that Slashdot has lost its way, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Slashdot is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by being the most trolled website in the world.

You don't need to be Cowboy Neal to predict Slashdot's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Slashdot faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Slashdot because the Slashdot is dying. Things are looking very bad for Slashdot. As many of us are already aware, as the Slashdot servers continue to crash.

Red ink flows like a river of blood. For all practical purposes, Slashdot is dead, or at least should be.

GNAA Big Dick Results (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351704)

GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which
gathers GAY NIGGERS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - being GAY NIGGERS.

Are you GAY [klerck.org] ?
Are you a NIGGER [tux.org] ?
Are you a GAY NIGGER [gay-sex-access.com] ?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above questions, then GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) might be exactly what you've been looking for!
Join GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) today, and enjoy all the benefits of being a full-time GNAA member.
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the fastest-growing GAY NIGGER community with THOUSANDS of members all over United States of America. You, too, can be a part of GNAA if you join today!

Why not? It's quick and easy - only 3 simple steps!

First, you have to obtain a copy of GAY NIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE THE MOVIE [imdb.com] and watch it. (click here to download the 280MB MPEG from BitTorrent [idge.net] )

Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA "first post" on slashdot.org [slashdot.org] , a popular "news for trolls" website

Third, you need to join the official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on EFNet, and apply for membership.
Talk to one of the ops or any of the other members in the channel to sign up today!

If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is EFNet, and you can connect to irc.secsup.org or irc.easynews.com as one of the EFNet servers.
If you do not have an IRC client handy, you are free to use the GNAA Java IRC client by clicking here [nero-online.org] .

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

This post brought to you by Penisbird [nero-online.org] , a proud member of the GNAA

G_____________________________________naann_______ ________G
N_____________________________nnnaa__nanaaa_______ ________A
A____________________aanana__nannaa_nna_an________ ________Y
A_____________annna_nnnnnan_aan_aa__na__aa________ ________*
G____________nnaana_nnn__nn_aa__nn__na_anaann_MERI CA______N
N___________ana__nn_an___an_aa_anaaannnanaa_______ ________I
A___________aa__ana_nn___nn_nnnnaa___ana__________ ________G
A__________nna__an__na___nn__nnn___SSOCIATION_of__ ________G
G__________ana_naa__an___nnn______________________ ________E
N__________ananan___nn___aan_IGGER________________ ________R
A__________nnna____naa____________________________ ________S
A________nnaa_____anan____________________________ ________*
G________anaannana________________________________ ________A
N________ananaannn_AY_____________________________ ________S
A________ana____nn_________IRC-EFNET-#GNAA________ ________S
A_______nn_____na_________________________________ ________O
*_______aaaan_____________________________________ ________C
um, dolor. Nunc nec nisl. Phasellus blandit tempor augue. Donec arcu orci, adipiscing ac, interdum a, tempus nec, enim. Phasellus placerat iaculis orci. Crasa sit amet quam. Sed enim quam, porta quis, aliquet quis, hendrerit ut, sem. Etiam felis tellus, suscipit et, consequat quis, pharetra sit amet, nisl. Aenean arcu massa, lacinia in, dictum eu, pulvinar ac, orci. Mauris at diam tempor ante ullamcorper molestie. Ut dapibus eleifend ipsum. Nam dignissim.

Slow down cowboy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351722)

what about us gay white boys?

Re:Slow down cowboy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351734)

you either need to be gay or a nigger (or both) to join, so yes you may join.

-Penisbird (24.174.81.26 )

Apple 2+ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351705)

First popular home PC, first post.

Fries with that? (-1, Troll)

Rtsbasic (709532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351706)

Sorry, someone had to say it.

FACT: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351707)

Big Macs are bad for your health.

FACT: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351944)

NEO DIES! TRINITY DIES! THE ARCHITECT WAS RIGHT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351710)

Oops.

YOU FAIL IT! ALL THE AGENT SMITHS ALSO DIE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351742)

And then everything goes back to normal.

The Wachowskis are setting everyone up for a major fucking disappointment.

Heer is and arictaclael on it (0, Informative)

SirJaxalot (715418) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351711)

here [newscientist.com]

LaMe Wind0ze - I haV3 an 3xpl01t. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351713)

another harmless! IE BUG... I GUESS

Internet explorer can't click and properly open long URL's! in the browser...

its dam strange to see WINXP LOGOFF WITHOUT ASKING MY PERMISSION

file://c:\windows\system32\logoff.exe

see... IT'S A URL but ....... you can't click at the link!!!

I HAVE TRIED IT IN OTHER BROWSER INCLUDING OPERA AND THE LINK OPENS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM!

WHEN WILL IE BUG END UP... anyway!!!

you all suck balls (-1)

penis fish (671987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351714)

FUCK U ALL :)))

ps u sux my cock, J^raxis (who can be found on DALnet)

price (0, Flamebait)

McAddress (673660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351716)

this once again proves what mac fans have known forever.
Dollar for dollar, macs give more power and are a better value than PC's.

Re:price (1, Troll)

norkakn (102380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351780)

d-: I love mac and own a G5, but you are a silly silly person. Macs have always let you get things done more quickly, but it is pretty recent that we can actually process everything more quickly and cheaply too (-:

I miss the SCSI days though.. I remember being on an PC and wondering "why the heck is it taking so long to transfer files and use the floppy drive". With Macs, I've always been able to get work done, the settings don't change themselves and programs don't mysteriously break. I'm a computer engineering major and I do a lot of graphics, so both are well fulfilled by OSX (though I'm not sure about Xcode.. especialyl the debugger, but I haven't had time to really learn it yet)

Re:price (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351793)

So long as you discount the fact that Mac keeps charging folks for upgrades that are mearly patches to fix previous bugs - at least MS continues to release patches for a decent period of time before ending support. Rather than actually let 10.2 users get bugs fixed, they hit 'ya with a new $129 bill for an upgrade. Amazing they got away with it on the previous release - rather than delaying and actually getting all the applications they promised with the first release of OS X, they charged another $120 bill.

Re:price (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351834)

This is the type of statement that makes people question the accuracy of ANY price/performance claim made by a Mac fan(atic). Simply stating that "macs give more power and are a better value" is tremendously misleading. The obvious questions to ask are "When was this true?", "In what application?", "Against what competition?", and "By what objective standard?".

Why not give it in hexadecimal flops? (0, Troll)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351717)

This is computers, not bowling!

Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351718)

~1000 boxes x $130 = big $$$ for Apple. Thanks for paying your mac tax. That is why we call it FeeBSD.

The Jihad wants YOU! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351723)

Tired of Slashdot's subversive abuse [kuro5hin.org] by the editorial staff?

Bored with mindless [slashdot.org] groupthink [slashdot.org] ?

Had enough with Slashdot's unethical support for advertisers [slashdot.org] ?

If so, we invite you to join the jihad against Slashdot at www.anti-slash.org [anti-slash.org] . We demand a full acknowledgment and apology from the editorial staff for their crimes against the community. Until then, we will take whatever action is necessary to discredit Slashdot as a reputable geek news site.

Our tools:

  • Database Tool [anti-slash.org] - A huge searchable database of old Score:4 and Score:5 posts ready for reposting. Gain karma at your will. Then, use your mod points and karma bonus to cause mayhem.

  • Browsing Tool [anti-slash.org] - Browse Slashdot through our special tool to alert other brothers in Jihad to subversive posts worthy of moderation. Also integrates with the database tool for quick karma whoring.

  • Mail Tool [anti-slash.org] - create fake email accounts for creating new Slashdot accounts for jihad operations with ease.

  • Bait and Switch Mirror Tool [anti-slash.org] - Use this to mirror a Slashdotted site. After a certain amount of time (to let the mods push it up to Score:5), it switches to displaying goatse.cx or your favorite disgusting image.
Join the jihad today!

SLASHDOT SUCKS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351724)

Take 12492342... (4, Funny)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351726)

....ok, we've really got real numbers THIS time!!

Quite an accomplishment. (2, Funny)

illuminata (668963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351729)

I haven't seen a cluster of Macs this big and powerful since the last annual pimp convetion!

Now, where did all the tricks go?

Full price (-1, Flamebait)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351730)

Imagine if that put all that money down on an Intel/Athlon cluster. They could have got at least double performance. But then again it wasn't their money in the first place, it was probably grant money or taxpayer funded NSF.

Re:Full price (2, Insightful)

McAddress (673660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351758)

RTFA

The x86 cluster would have been twice as expensive. And this outpreforms the highest ranking x86 cluster, which has more processors.

Re:Full price (4, Funny)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351767)

The power usage (think cooling the room) for a similarly-performing Athlon cluster would likely more than make up for what phantom price difference you are talking about.

Re:Full price (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351837)

The power usage (think cooling the room) for a similarly-performing Athlon cluster would likely more than make up for what phantom price difference you are talking about.

I read something once (can't seem to find it again, anyone else?) that said the Athlon CPU was (pound for pound) the most efficient heat-source (from electric anyway) in the world.

Think you could power the super computer by using the heat from the CPUs to boil water and spin turbines? ;)

Re:Full price (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351990)

In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

youd have to have a small input of energy, but i bet its pretty insignificant.

Re:Full price (2, Interesting)

Zelet (515452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351777)

They costed the G5 against Dell and IBM offerings and the Apple solution was cheaper. Where did you get your numbers? Why don't you go out and price out a Supercomputer for me will ya? Of course you know that it isn't feasible to BUILD 1100 units.

Re:Full price (1)

waynelorentz (662271) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351779)

They could have got at least double performance.

Wow. Nine whole comments before the first troll. If you'd been reading /. or anything else on this subject, you'd know that's simply not true. But then, the world needs myopic lemmings, too.

Re:Full price (0, Flamebait)

kungfumaster (122295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351803)

>Imagine if that put all that money down on an Intel/Athlon >cluster.

Imagine if you actually spent some money to learn grammar.

Re:Full price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351821)

Uh, RTFA, as was stated it was cheaper than any combination offered by any pc out there. but whatever, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, this is Slashdot where no one reads the article before spouting off...

Too slow/expensive (3, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351830)

If you'd read the article, you'd see that Varadarajan considered the Intel Itanium II but found "(The G5) is extremely faster than the Itanium II, hands down.". The AMD Opteron was too expensive. And for boxes, Dell and a bunch of other PC manufacturers quoted prices in the $10 million to $12 million dollar range.

So he went full price with the G5 ($3000 apiece) and for only $5.2 million has the number 3 slot and is shooting for a 10% boost.

Speling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351735)

vodoo? brewn? Check yo self, boy.

PS: 15th post!

Brewn? (2, Interesting)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351747)

Is that a word? How about brewed? Hate to nit, but .... aw... nevermind.

but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351751)

can I run linux on it?

in the same vein (1)

McAddress (673660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351811)

imagine a beowulf cluster of these

re: the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351752)

160 apple computer! they are the perfect company for geeks like us. lean Say for a fact that is every ampengwas like Ur. Jobs Brainchild, the world would bea much better place.

technical details? like this one... (-1, Troll)

Carbon Unit 549 (325547) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351753)

From the article...

Varadarajan wanted a high-performance supercomputer based on a 64-bit processor and never looked at 32 bit. In addition, he felt that clusters imply gigabit Ethernet.


This is a pretty weak statement to justify the substantial increase in cost for the going to 64 bit and InfiniBand interconnect, compared to just buying more nodes.

Re:technical details? like this one... (5, Funny)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351800)

Tell you what... you build a cluster of 32 bit machines connected with 100 Base T ethernet and come back and tell us how many more nodes you needed and what it cost you when you have one of the 5 fastest computers in the world.

Until then, quit your trolling.

Re:technical details? like this one... (1)

Carbon Unit 549 (325547) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351908)

Not trolling. I happen to build and use clusters for computational fluid dynamics simulations. We use commodity P4 processors and 100 Base T eithernet at between 50 and 90 percent efficiency. Thus, speeding more than 50% of the cost of a cheap node to increase efficiency is not worth it.

Of course, there are applications that benifit from the faster connections. I would just like to hear about them.

Re:technical details? like this one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351872)

Carbon Unit 549 (325547) deemed obsolete. Slated for termination.

Re:technical details? like this one... (1)

Rhys (96510) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351931)

The speed of the interconnect puts a limit on the number of nodes you can practically connect.

Given our CPU power has been growing far faster than the networking speeds, he chose well in that aspect. Low-latency communication is vital to most (not all) parallel applications.

Re:technical details? like this one... (0)

norkakn (102380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351968)

Macs come standard with gigabit. And it is cheaper overall. And it is faster overal.

sounds like a pretty good deal, eh?

Re:technical details? like this one... (1)

chez69 (135760) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351975)

perhaps the folks using the cluster need the 64 bit address space? you can run of memory space pretty darn quick on a 32 bit machine now.

And all those people whining earlier... (0, Offtopic)

i_r_sensitive (697893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351755)

about the new patch not being made available for 10.2.

Suck it up whiners, at least you don't have this particular upgrade and patch cycle...

Panther (-1)

interiot (50685) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351757)

  • Varadarajan said he plans to upgrade the entire cluster to Panther, the latest version of the Mac OS X operating system, in a couple of weeks.
Anybody know the IP of this thing? He won't be able to patch for a couple weeks, and wanted to play doom on it (hey, even thugh it's over the net, you can use the excess CPU to compress the video stream quite a bit?)

Re:Panther (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351911)

You posted something that lame under your real handle.

Fucking moron.

Super computer? (3, Insightful)

ludky132 (720414) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351766)

I've always been sort of intrigued by Top500 [top500.org] Has there ever been a good comparison written about the similarities/differences between a 'supercomputer' and the regular pc sitting on my desk running Linux/2k? At what point does the computer in question earn the title "Super"?

Re:Super computer? (2, Interesting)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351883)

A "supercomputer" is usually one that is optimized for vector operations: operations that take a data set, and perform the same operation on each element of that data set -- sort of a "Super SIMD/SSE/AltiVec/whatever". Your desktop computer is designed around performing a series of different operations on a single data element at a time. The graphics card of your computer could be considered a very specialized supercomputer.

In terms of raw processing power, the computer on your desk is more powerful than an early Cray. But if you tried to do weather modelling or finite element analysis with both, the Cray would win.

Re:Super computer? (5, Funny)

isoga (670113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351889)

When you get on the list. Then you have a supercomputer

Re:Super computer? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351902)

when it can rate on the list. And since it's a fluid list, with big computers regularly falling off, the definition changes. The real question is, what happens to a "former" super computer? If you want a comparison, run the linpack code on your machine.

Re:Super computer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351916)

>At what point does the computer in question earn >the title "Super"?

When it makes it on the top500 list.

Or if it costs more than $1 million.

Or if it wears spandex and a cape.

It's kind of arbitrary.

Full Price? WHY?!? (5, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351768)

>>yes, VT paid full price

This is disgraceful! Hundreds of Macs on one purchase order, and they couldn't (or chose not to!) negotiate a deal? The Virginia taxpayers should be outraged! Good grief, if I bought 600 loaves of bread from the corner market, I'd expect a discount. Perhaps they were more interested in making the press than being good stewards of the public trust. After all, the college knows the taxpayers will have pay the bills, sooner or later.
Shameful.

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (3, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351844)

I agree. As an employee of a state-run university, I can attest that I'm elligible for a 10% discount off the purchase price of one of the dual 2GHZ G5s. (Originally $2999, discounted to $2699).

That VT wasn't able - or didn't think - to do the same is pretty shocking. A savings of $330,000 isn't anything to sneeze at.

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (2, Informative)

norkakn (102380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351941)

Add in 8gigs of ram and it isn't 2699.. all of their machines had either 4 or 8

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (4, Informative)

zeno_2 (518291) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351860)

Derek Bastille of the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center in Fairbanks said that they just built a supercomputer but spent about 30 million using Cray and IBM equipment. He got quotes from other companies (dell) and the price was going to be about 10 million. They only ended up spending 5.2 million on the apples. Id say if I lived in Virginia, and paid taxes, I would be happy.

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351867)

Ya know. I could not figure out if this was a troll or if you were being serious. I decided that you were being serious so I will simply say that there is always going to be someone that is going to bitch and moan about something. Apple gave VT the best deal going (out of IBM, Dell, HP etc..) and they also got an educational discount. What more do you want from a company that gives you the fastest for the cheapest?

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (3, Informative)

Patrick Lewis (30844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351874)

I imagine that it was because the G5s were very scarce at launch. These aren't loaves of bread we are talking about. Apple could ship and sell at full price as many of these as they could make, so VT really had no leverage to try and get lower prices. 3-6 months after the launch, then sure, they might be able to get it cheaper. But first in line? I don't think that it is suprising at all to hear they paid full price.

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (1)

norkakn (102380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351876)

From the price I think they got the standard educational discount, and come on.. they got the first ones off the line and one of the fastest networks in the world for only a few mil, that is a great deal, VT should be proud.

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (1)

zelurxunil (710061) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351907)

Although I am an increasing mac fan, I have to agree with you. The only reason Apple still exists is because of their deals they have made to get into schools. Makes you wonder if they where to afraid it would fail to get behind it....

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (1)

mbbac (568880) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351929)

I'm sure they got lots of extra special support to offset the MSRP purchase price.

Re:Full Price? WHY?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351954)

full price of what? full as in "apple didn't give it to us for free" or "more than you would pay if you bought it from a store"?

or 'full price they quoted to us', which could be the real thing, since they did get some kind of quotes for sure.

interesting points (5, Interesting)

kaan (88626) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351772)

I think it's interesting that he wasn't a Mac fan at all before this project. He says he chose it because it had better performance than everything else out there ("Ironically, they lost the gigahertz game," he said of Intel. "(The G5) is extremely faster than the Itanium II, hands down."), and was cheaper too (Dell and other manufacturers quoted prices between $10 and $12 million, vs. the $5.2 million or G5s).

What more do you need? Faster systems, cheaper total cost, and slick looking cases.

Re:interesting points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351873)

And a real 'Mac fan' would be interested in???

Re:interesting points (4, Insightful)

davidstrauss (544062) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351928)

Itanium is a poor architecture. This isn't just my opinion, it's the opinion of the professor here at UT Austin working on the multi-core lightweight processor (a.k.a. TRIPS) that IBM will hopefully be fabbing soon. Seeing a cost comparison with the Athlon64/Opteron would be more enlightening. Also consider that it would be almost impossible to buy Itanium or any other "enterprise" system without all the redundant hardware (ECC RAM, etc.) for which the G5 cluster compensates in software.

Re:interesting points (0)

radicalskeptic (644346) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351994)

"What more do you need? Faster systems, cheaper total cost, and slick looking cases." What more do I need? How about an exceptionally well-designed, FreeBSD-based operating system? Oh yeah, it has that, too.

Dumb Question... (4, Interesting)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351788)

....maybe i'm obtuse, but i keep hearing about this thing as "..and we're only seeing X% of its real potential right now!"....

1) Why can't they just shout "Let 'er rip!!" and crank the thing wide open?

2) Why all the media buzz concerning this as a `surprise' when they've already got its performance figured out, apparently?

Sorry.

Re:Dumb Question... (5, Informative)

SquareOfS (578820) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351833)

Because performance in a supercomputing cluster is not just the sum of the nodes.

It's highly dependent on the interconnects, the topology of the network, the software that does the clustering (i.e., that actually makes the nodes available for parallelized word), etc.

So minor tweaks can have major effects, and getting it tweaked properly is quite an accomplishment.

Re:Dumb Question... (2, Funny)

valkraider (611225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351886)

the nodes available for parallelized word

Does it make Word's performance acceptable?

Re:Dumb Question... (1)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351915)

Ahhh.. thanks... Guess i couldn't see the forest for the trees on that one.

You know, i still would have thought that they'd have all this worked out beforehand, maybe before they even build a supercomputer.

I mean, you can't just say "well, let's go grab a metric fsck-ton of X and see what happens when we cluster it". You're talking a lot of resources and especially $$ that's being thrown on the line. I'm sure that building a supercomputer is way over my understanding and these folks probalby have put more forethought and time into this than we'll ever know, but still.

It kinda seems 'half cooked', unless this is how "all" supercomputers start out.

Re:Dumb Question... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351865)

> 1) Why can't they just shout "Let 'er rip!!" and crank the thing wide open?

Statement: I know I can get my Ferrari to give me about 20% more acceleration by adjusting the fuel to air ratio.

Question: Why can't you just shout "Let 'er rip!!" and crank the thing wide open?

Re:Dumb Question... (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351893)

Why can't they just shout "Let 'er rip!!" and crank the thing wide open?

If it were that easy, I'm sure they'd do just that. But a cluster of over 1000 machines is a complex contraption and I'm willing to bet that tuning it to get the last drop of performance out of it is not a simple task. It's probably a theorize, measure, tweak loop getting small increments of performance gain on each iteration. It's probably going to take them some time before they get it fully tweaked out.

Re:Dumb Question... (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351948)

...maybe i'm obtuse, but i keep hearing about this thing as "..and we're only seeing X% of its real potential right now!"....

1) Why can't they just shout "Let 'er rip!!" and crank the thing wide open?


In theory, every CPU in the cluster is able to perform two floating-point operations every clock cycle, but only if one of those is a multiplication and the other is an addition. The two occur in combination fairly often in scientific computing.

The "real potential" is how fast the computer could run if every CPU was executing two instructions every clock cycle. The "X%" is caused by things such as communications delays, memory accesses, and when the CPU has to do something other than a multiplication and addition.

Not quite (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351997)

"In theory, every CPU in the cluster is able to perform two floating-point operations every clock cycle, but only if one of those is a multiplication and the other is an addition. The two occur in combination fairly often in scientific computing."

My understanding is that it can perform two FMADD instructions every clock cycle.

Re:Dumb Question... (1)

merlin_jim (302773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351980)

....maybe i'm obtuse, but i keep hearing about this thing as "..and we're only seeing X% of its real potential right now!"....

1) Why can't they just shout "Let 'er rip!!" and crank the thing wide open?


The Real Potential is figured as a pure function of how many processors are in a machine and what speed they're running at.

Only a certain percentage of this processing power is aimed squarely at solving a problem, however... you also have to do things like:

Run an operating system
Compute error checks on code
Run a network stack

Not only that, but your application if not written and tuned specifically for your setup will probably spend a significant amount of time waiting on data from other processors in the cluster.

So they have a theoretical performance they can NEVER reach, and an expected real world performance that they figure out by comparing their setup to other setups to find out how much of their performance they can expect to be eaten by overhead. Actually getting to that performance figure is not necessarily an easy thing.

True life story. A certain big company had an application that was running on Citrix Metaframe over the web. This application ran on a farm of 4-proc boxes, averaging 35-40 users per processor at the performance levels they needed.

Rather than add new boxes, this company decided to move up to 8-proc boxes. How much could the new 8-proc boxes handle per proc? 10 users, max. Yeah that's right... double the processor, less than half the performance. Why?

The processors spent more time clogging their bus than actually running code. Just for giggles we found a high performance computing cluster with a 16-proc box for loan and ran it on there. The app was unusable.

The lesson? Scaling in a multi-processor way is not easy, and in some cases doesn't make sense at all.

Re:Dumb Question... (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351998)

It used to be, at least according to the US gov, when a computer could hit the 1 gigaflop mark and that meant export restrictions. However, that's no big deal these days so I guess the definition is really dated if they haven't bumped it to 1 teraflop.

Favorite Quote (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351796)

An audience member asked if he'd made the purchase through the Apple store. Varadarajan smiled and said that actually, yes, he had.

Re:Favorite Quote (5, Funny)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351927)

I can see that one now ... Varadarajan surfs to www.apple.com/purchase

Ok, max all the options. Cool.
Now put 1100 in the quantity. Cool.
Ok (chugga chugga chugga) $3.3 million dollars. Who has the credit card? (silence, *crickets*, the rude sound of nobody reaching for their wallet...)

Ok maybe it is just me. Of course I have play configured a few systems in the online order systems of IBM and Dell a few times (didn't actually hit 'Submit' however) and it is possible to configure a single $100k machine from Dell. I haven't found the limit at IBM yet as they seem to have more imagination than I do (although it is easy just to get the SOFTWARE on one of their systems to exceed $100k.)

Re:Favorite Quote (1)

whirlycott (54326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351982)

I tried to put 1,100 G5 computers in my cart on the Apple store. You can't. The quantity field only holds 3 chars, so the max you can buy there is 999.

That's fishy to me.

Take a bite out of slashdot: Join the Jihad (-1, Troll)

jihadi_31338 (720407) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351797)

Tired of Slashdot's subversive abuse [kuro5hin.org] by the editorial staff?

Bored with mindless [slashdot.org] groupthink [slashdot.org] ?

Had enough with Slashdot's unethical support for advertisers [slashdot.org] ?

If so, we invite you to join the jihad against Slashdot at www.anti-slash.org [anti-slash.org] . We demand a full acknowledgment and apology from the editorial staff for their crimes against the community. Until then, we will take whatever action is necessary to discredit Slashdot as a reputable geek news site.

Our tools:

  • Database Tool [anti-slash.org] - A huge searchable database of old Score:4 and Score:5 posts ready for reposting. Gain karma at your will. Then, use your mod points and karma bonus to cause mayhem.

  • Browsing Tool [anti-slash.org] - Browse Slashdot through our special tool to alert other brothers in Jihad to subversive posts worthy of moderation. Also integrates with the database tool for quick karma whoring.

  • Mail Tool [anti-slash.org] - create fake email accounts for creating new Slashdot accounts for jihad operations with ease.

  • Bait and Switch Mirror Tool [anti-slash.org] - Use this to mirror a Slashdotted site. After a certain amount of time (to let the mods push it up to Score:5), it switches to displaying goatse.cx or your favorite disgusting image.
Join the jihad today!

No, make that.. (4, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351799)

from the whole-lotta-clock-cycles dept.
[snip]
yes, it's running MacOSX Jaguar ( soon Panther)

More like whole-lotta-CD-jockying. Perhaps the bio department can lend a hand by donating the services of their chimps to handle the CD swapping.

(Yes, I'm aware there are smarter ways of doing it, but isn't it a fun mental picture, 100 chimps running around a cluster of G5's and throwing bananas and CDs at each other?) Talk about your fun install-fests.

Simply amazing (3, Insightful)

laird (2705) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351805)

This is simply an amazing achievement. Plenty of people have built supercomputers from huge piles of x86's, but this team managed to not only pull the trick off in less time, for less money, but on a new hardware platform. I certainly follow their logic (PPC's have always been far better than x86's for real scientific-level precision FLOPs) but it's a really gutsy move betting your entire supercomputing program on a new CPU, new hardware platform, etc., and on your ability to get everything ported to the PPC -- that's a lot of risks to take, and a small school like that can't afford to fail, even building a relatively cheap supercomputer. But it clearly paid off! Not only did they get great PR for the university, they got a great computing resource for the students and faculty, and by doing it themselves rather than buying a complete system from a vendor, I am sure that those students all learned far more. And those 700 pizza and coke consuming students that cranked the code will all be able to say that they were part of this amazing thing.

Damn!

Myths brought back (1)

maniac1860 (567470) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351806)

As of one day ago, as far as I know the memory issues had not been solved (I just talked to someone who talked to Srinidhi last night). Rather, for benchmark purposes, the RAM errors should not be a big deal since they can always rerun. For actually dealing with the errors, they plan on switching to ECC RAM machines once Apple is ready to ship them (presumably there is some type of special deal there, though I've heard nothing concrete about it).

Jumbled numbers (3, Funny)

SDMX (668380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351827)

'yes, errors in RAM are accounted for,' And no malloc library benchmark jumbling bullshit this time? T minus 10 minutes before some PC nut looks at all this, sees that the Mac relies on something a PC can't do, and 'blows the whistle'. T minus 15 minus before they realize it's the OS.

Too bad some software patents will be filed (3, Interesting)

Colonel Panic (15235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351831)

Varadarajan told the audience he would publish full documentation and release most of the code written for the machine. However, some of the software is subject to patent applications, he said, and he wasn't yet sure if it would be released under an open-source license.

What's up with that?
Used to be that work like this done at a Univeristy was considered 'open' as in available to anyone to help advance the state-of-the-art. Not anymore...

Re:Too bad some software patents will be filed (5, Insightful)

norkakn (102380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351906)

It isn't their fault.. I hear a long story on NPR about it a while ago. Universities tried to stay out of the patent game, but companies would take their research and patent it and then charge the university to use it.. researchers having to pay to use their own findings.

The patent system needs to be overhauled, then maybe we can start opening up the Universities again (and give them some more funding too!)

Re:Too bad some software patents will be filed (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351958)

It could be VERY possible that its code Apple wrote, since everyone under the sun has heard of xgrid, yet no one yet knows what xgrid is... heck im in the mail-group yet all I know is that it has something to do with cluster computing

Re:Too bad some software patents will be filed (1)

Sophrosyne (630428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351966)

They probably aren't his patents... someone already applied for them.

Open source the code (2, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351835)

So, the other really cool thing they are doing is open sourcing the code for error checking and connectivity.

This is in addition to consulting where they are helping others build similar clusters.

oh boy, now steve job cogs can be proud (-1)

Sonnenschein (701061) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351841)

despite this, apple still sucks and steve jobs is still a fucking mongrel..... So why all the mac propaganda on this website ? Apple and their beloved darwin is for losers, not geeks... I am so unimpressed by this story..

Why didn't they use Darwin or Gentoo? (1, Flamebait)

1337 Apple Zealot (720421) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351884)

It seems a waste that they used the stock Jaguar distrobution instead of creating an optimized distro. If they made a G5 optimized kernel and ran a G5 optimized linpack in single user mode with all unnecssary features stripped out then I bet they could of had at least 10% extra performance. I know, because I compiled Gentoo on my G5 (only took 30 minutes BTW, thats how fast it is) and it runs KDE a hell faster than AQUA. So why did they use a slow operating system on that hardware?

Accounting (0, Troll)

wahgnube (557787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351890)

3000/machine. 1100 machines = 5.2 million dollars?
Suddenly someone'll be on some some cool yacht in Europe. ;)

Unless pizzas are horribly more expensive all of a sudden. Noooo!

Re:Accounting (1)

lpp (115405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7352000)

The $5.2 million also included the cost of the interconnection wiring, server cages and other "stuff" to build out the entire supercomputer. It wasn't just for the G5's.

Full price? (4, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351922)

Wow.. I can't believe Apple didn't cut them a break for buying 1100 Dual G5s.

You'd think apple would at least sell G5's to VT without SuperDrives and Radeon 9600s. I seriously doubt those things (especially the video cards) will get a lot of use in a giant cluster.

But, hey, even with all that pointless extra hardware, this cluster is still less then half the price of a comparable intel system from Dell or IBM. Weird.

nerds (2, Funny)

mooface (674033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351953)


From the wired article:

"After his presentation, a group of nerds followed him to the hotel's bar for drinks, hanging on his every word."

How dorky did these guys have to be to have a reporter for "Wired" catagorize them as nerds...damn....

Re:nerds (1)

saddino (183491) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351992)

"Table 6 needs two beers and fifteen iced teas..."

When They Switch It to Linux (1, Funny)

Euphonious Coward (189818) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351959)

Think how much faster it will be when they switch all the nodes over to Linux! :-)/2

I wouldn't go messing around with Apple hardware. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7351977)

Not after the last fiasco. I can't understand Apple's warranty department. They're virtually no help

I have a G4 powermac, a 1.42GHz machine which worked well and for the most part kept me occupied and did the tasks I needed doing. The noise however, was something that's been driving me, my wife and my pets crazy. The dog wouldn't come in the same room as she's scared of the thing. She also attacks the hairdryer in the bathroom, and I think that's a subtle hint that the thing was too loud and what it sounded like.

Looking deeper into the machine I found a couple of fans that when running at a certain speed reached a phenomenal noise level. With the computer in its cabinet they were bad enough but I felt like I was near a jet taking off if I had the Mac up on my desk. I pulled those fans out and they looked like they could be replaced by standard, quieter fans. I took one from the last PC I'd built (yes I'm multiplatform) and it fit well, so a quick trip into town I bought a pair and installed those.

The G4 was fantastic! The reduction in noise was something I could immediately appreciate, but my happiness didn't last too long. Within half an hour the machine was locking up and crashing. I opened it once more to see I hadn't been a moron and done anything stupid, when I noticed the apple supplied heatsink was BURNING hot. I mean really hot, I couldn't bear to touch it more than momentarily. I never trusted that heatsink, the sheer bulk of it looked like it was made to be produced easily and not cool properly. I ditched that heatsink (after letting the machine cool down for an hour!) and replaced it with a Zalman flower. I'd never seen cooling like it could do, so it was the logical choice. The heatsink for the G4 attached differently, but it was easy enough to adapt the zalman with insulated wire tied underneath the CPU board.

This worked a little better and the powermac booted, and stayed working far longer. For about three days, and from then on it wouldn't boot. No chime, just fans spinning and no video. Even the hard drive barely ticked a couple of times. By now I was furious, my previous macs had given me little trouble but this one was a pain. I phoned the apple center nearest me, and as it was only a few months old I was assured everything should be covered by warranty. It turns out because I had MODIFIED the computer that my warranty was void. wtf? I added a superior cooling system to the machine, quietened it, IMPROVED it in every way, and they deny my claim? I was livid at the store manager, but couldn't get past his denseness. Know what else? Apple keep on record what you've done. I replaced the original loud fan, the original heatsink and tried once more, and again my claim was refused on the basis I'd done the damage myself.

I'm still a Mac user, but a very annoyed one still waiting on repairs to my G4 that I have to pay for myself, and that I consider are Apple's warranty responsibility that they've gotten out of having to pay for by some stupid clause. Read the fine print guys.

Not a mac fan either... (5, Funny)

Epistax (544591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7351979)

... but that doesn't matter. An accomplishment is an accomplishment. Besides if an AI manifests itself it'd be less likely to destroy the world and more likely to tell you that your white socks do not match your purple tie.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...