×

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!

SGI to Scale Linux Across 1024 CPUs

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the thats-a-lotta-chips dept.

Silicon Graphics 360

im333mfg writes "ComputerWorld has an article up about an upcoming SGI Machine, being built for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, "that will run a single Linux operating system image across 1,024 Intel Corp. Itanium 2 processors and 3TB of shared memory.""

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

360 comments

Whoa! (5, Funny)

rylin (688457) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731090)

Sweet, now we'll be able to run Doom3 at highest detail in *SOFTWARE*-rendering mode!

Re:Whoa! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731146)

Please, the parent is Funny not Offtopic...

Re:Whoa! (-1, Troll)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731256)

Please, the parent is -1 whining about moderating.

Re:Whoa! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731362)

If I look at your comments' moderation... nothing to be proud of!

Re:Whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731370)

And you are, what again?

Will it be done in time for Quake 3? (-1, Redundant)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731093)

..and what video system are they putting in it?

Re:Will it be done in time for Quake 3? (2, Funny)

Gleng (537516) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731130)

Will it be done in time for Quake 3?

Hmm, quite possibly.

Re:Will it be done in time for Quake 3? (0)

Forge (2456) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731408)

Will the person who moded the parent "off topic" please put down the crack pipe and post a reply explaining why.

Ok (5, Funny)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731094)

But does it run--crap. I mean what about a Beowulf--doh!
Damn you SGI!

Re:Ok (4, Funny)

jc42 (318812) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731477)

Hey, any reason we couldn't build, say, 1024 of these things, and make a beowulf cluster of them?

Big Mac (-1, Flamebait)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731097)

Bring on the Apple Fan-Boy partylines about their Innovative(tm) G5 with the BEST GUI on top of their FULLY OPENSOURCED UNIX UNDERPINNINGS(tm).....

and stuff..

blah.. it's sunday, ferchrissakes!

Re:Big Mac (-1, Troll)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731153)

Bring on the Apple Fan-Boy partylines about their Innovative(tm) G5 with the BEST GUI on top of their FULLY OPENSOURCED UNIX UNDERPINNINGS(tm).....

It's not Offtopic! you *know* that there's going go be a bunch of Apple strokes talking about how superior the Big Mac is/was to this, based on any real or imagined aspect.

(yeah, i quoting myself, get over it) :D

Now for the obligitory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731098)

How about a beowulf cluster of these?

Now... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731099)

imagine a Beowulf cluster of these

Linux Shminux (-1, Offtopic)

Tlosk (761023) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731100)

I didn't know Longhorn was far enough along to get a test machine up and running.

Longhorn (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731105)

Yeah, but can it run Longhorn?

Re:Longhorn (3, Funny)

arvindn (542080) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731423)

I hereby nominate this to be the next standard in-joke of slashdot. The previous candidate, evil overlords, never really took off in popularity, leaving us in the pathetic situation that every single bad joke available is soooo 2002! I particularly like "but can it run Longhorn?" because it will be funny until Longhorn is out, which is (hopefully) a long long time from now ;-)

Arvindn Again Late To Party (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731495)

I hereby nominate this to be the next standard in-joke of slashdot in Japan. The previous candidate, evil overlords, never really took off in popularity, leaving us in the pathetic situation that every single bad joke available is soooo 2002 in Japan! I particularly like "but can it run Longhorn?" because it will be funny until Longhorn is out, which is (hopefully) a long long time from now in Japan. ;-)

Solaris (3, Insightful)

MrWim (760798) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731121)

It seems that if they pull this off one of the dtrongholds of solaris (namely massivly parralell computing) will have been conqurered by linux. I wonder how sun are feeling at the moment?

Re:Solaris (1)

4lex (648184) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731231)

I wonder how sun are feeling at the moment?

You might be sure that they either feel good or bad at the moment ;)

Re:Solaris (4, Informative)

justins (80659) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731236)

Solaris is not a leader in supercomputing, never has been.

http://top500.org/list/2004/06/

There's no "stronghold" for Sun to lose.

Sun != scientific computing (4, Informative)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731253)

Sun processors execute server workloads (database, app server) very well, but that's pretty much it. The emphasis with such workloads is on the memory system. Boatloads of caches do the job. It's also more effective to have tons of processors that are very simple, than just a couple of them that are complex and powerful.

Scientific computing means data crunching (floating point). Complex, powerful processors are needed. The "stupider, but more" tradeoff doesn't work anymore. Sun processors have fallen behind in this respect.

Re:Solaris (4, Interesting)

mrm677 (456727) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731255)

It seems that if they pull this off one of the dtrongholds of solaris (namely massivly parralell computing) will have been conqurered by linux. I wonder how sun are feeling at the moment?

Solaris scales to hundreds of processors out-of-the-box. Until the vanilla Linux kernel accepts these changes and scale, Solaris still has a big edge in this area.

Lame analogy: many people have demonstrated that they can hack their Honda Civic to outperform a Corvette, however I can walk into a dealership and purchase the latter which performs quite well without mods.

Re:Solaris (5, Interesting)

kasperd (592156) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731363)

Until the vanilla Linux kernel accepts these changes and scale, Solaris still has a big edge in this area.

I wouldn't be surprised to see these changes in the 2.8 kernel. And what will people do until then I hear some people ask. I can tell you that right now it is very few people that actually have the need to scale to 1024 CPUs. And that will probably also be true by the time Linux 2.8.0 is released. AFAIK Linux 2.6 does scale well to 128 CPUs, but I don't have hardware to test it, neither does any of my friends. So I'd say there is no need for a rush to get this in mainstream, the few people that need this can patch their kernels. My guess is that in the time from now until 2.8.0 is released, we will see less than 1000 such machines worldwide.

Re:Solaris (3, Funny)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731425)

My guess is that in the time from now until 2.8.0 is released, we will see less than 1000 such machines worldwide.

640 CPUs are enough for anyone? :)

Re:Solaris (2, Interesting)

isorox (205688) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731486)

My guess is that in the time from now until 2.8.0 is released, we will see less than 1000 such machines worldwide.

640 CPUs are enough for anyone? :)


A better retort would be "There's a world market for maybe 5 computers" by the IBM dude.

Claims are very difficult to make, and impossible to proove. However putting a time limit on a claim is easy. 2.8.0 will be released in 05 or 06, maybe we'll all have 1024CPU boxes in 20 years, but in 20 months?

Re:Solaris (3, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731420)

Solaris scales to hundreds of processors out-of-the-box. Until the vanilla Linux kernel accepts these changes and scale, Solaris still has a big edge in this area.

If someone buys one of these clusters from SGI, then it does scale "out of the box" as far as they're concerned.

Sun does more than that (4, Insightful)

puppetluva (46903) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731267)

Sun hardware has additional, wonderful resiliency features like - allowing cpu's to "fail-over" to other cpus in case of failure. The same holds true for memory, network interfaces, etc. Solaris is aware of these hardware features and can "map out" the bad memory and cpus on the fly (or allow swap-in replacements). The engineers can then replace the broken cpus/memory/interfaces WITHOUT BRINGING THE MACHINE DOWN. This lends itself to an environment than can enjoy nearly 100% uptime. Finally, since Sun has been doing the "lots of cpus" thing for many years, their process management and scalability tends to be much better.

I don't work for Sun, I'm just an SA that deals with both Solaris and Linux boxes. You don't pick sun for just "lots of cpus", you pick it for a very scalable OS and amazing hardware that allows for a very, very solid datacenter. If downtime costs a lot (ie. you lose a lot of money for being down), you should have Sun and/or IBM zseries hardware. Unfortunately those features cost a lot and most times you can use Linux clustering instead for a fraction of the cost and a high percentage of the availability.

Ummm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731338)

A small suggestion - get better hardware, and you won't need those features.

No charge :-)

Re:Ummm.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731407)

Ummm, false. We're talking mean time to failure here-- get a 10,000 processors with a MTTF of 10,000 days (27 years) what are your chances one of your processors will fail tomorrow? Or this week/month/year? They don't all last 27 years.

Sun and/or IBM zseries hardware (3, Informative)

r00t (33219) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731358)

Linux runs on both of these, with official IBM support on the zSeries. On the IBM hardware, go ahead and swap out CPUs and memory. It's supported, today, with Linux.

The Sun hardware is more difficult to deal with, since there isn't a virtual machine abstraction. You can't do everything below the OS. Still, Linux 2.6 has hot-plug CPU support that will do the job without help from a virtual machine. Hot-plug memory patches were posted a day or two ago. Again, this is NOT required for hot-plug on the zSeries. IBM whips Sun.

I'd trust the zSeries hardware far more than Sun's junk. A zSeries CPU has two pipelines running the exact same operations. Results get compared at the end, before committing them to memory. If the results differ, the CPU is taken down without corrupting memory as it dies. This lets the OS continue that app on another CPU without having the app crash.

Re:Sun and/or IBM zseries hardware (1)

christophersaul (127003) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731386)

What applications are you suggesting be run on this hugely expensive mainframe?

Du-uh (1, Interesting)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731411)

As everybody that has read the IBM redbooks about mainframe linux knows, Sendmail is the service of choice! Of course, you could run Postfix on a decrepid old pentium-1 and get the same level of perfomance, but that won't help IBM with their Mainframe income, will it?

Re:Du-uh (1)

christophersaul (127003) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731488)

On a serious note, I can't think of any app other than Oracle that's of any use beyond the OSS stuff.

I think it's funny how Sun is either far too expensive and we're being told to run everything on a few old 486s from the back of the office cupboard, or that Linux on a mainframe is the way to go.

Another thing Sun does well.... (4, Insightful)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731398)

Cache reduction - ehh cash reduction. One of the prime reasons Sun is losing serious levels of installed base to Linux is not because linux is better, it is because Sun is bloody expensive - outrageously so. And while most customers had to endure the annual fleecing with gritted teeth - due to lack of alternatives - Sun is now being pummeled out of datacenter after datacenter.

I have replaced Sun Hardware/Software combo's in the core datacenter for many of our customers, and I can tell you that yes - Sun brings some amazing features to the table - most of which are there to serve old technology. Linux on simple CPU's delivers such an amazing price performance (depending on the job, we see an average of 3x to 4x performance increase for 25% of the cost. That means that if I were to spend the same, lifecycle-wise, on a Linux cluster as I would on a big Sun box like the 10k or 15k, I'd end up with 12x to 16x the performance of the Sun solution.

The same functionality in terms of cpu and ram (and other hardware) failure is available on the Linux cluster, albeit in less graceful form - the magic spell to invoke goes like this:
shutdown -h now
if I have 300 machines crunching my data, I can afford to lose a couple, and can afford to have a few hot-standby's.

Of course, the massively parrallel architecture does not work for all applications, and in those cases you would look to use either OpenMOSIX [openmosix.org] or of course the (relatively expensive) SGI box mentioned in this article.

Re:Sun does more than that (1)

tlk nnr (449342) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731457)

The same holds true for memory, network interfaces, etc. Solaris is aware of these hardware features and can "map out" the bad memory and cpus on the fly (or allow swap-in replacements). The engineers can then replace the broken cpus/memory/interfaces WITHOUT BRINGING THE MACHINE DOWN.
Does that happen in real life?
Hot swapping components sounds great, but what if the screwdriver slips out of the finger of the engineer and causes a short?
Who has seen that a memory chip or a cpu was hot-swapped in a production server? I wouldn't be surprised if this never happened outside of the hw vendors labs or for a cool demonstration of the new toy.

Re:Solaris (1)

Bishop (4500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731344)

SGI has been playing in this NUMA market ever since they bought Cray about a decade ago. The T3 had a similar number of Alpha processors. The current Origin scales to 1024 MIPS processors. I believe both systems ran IRIX. The T3 may have used UNICOS. The point is the only thing new here is Linux on a 1024 processors. And even then SGI already has a 256 Itanium Linux system.

really fast? (-1, Offtopic)

Ari_Haviv (796424) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731129)

so does this mean KDE and Openoffice will finally run at decent speed?

Re:really fast? (4, Funny)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731154)

so does this mean KDE and Openoffice will finally run at decent speed?

No, you're going to need quantum computing for that.

Re:really fast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731354)

won't that result in running both KDE and GNOME at the same time, but as soon as you look at it you see FVWM instead?

Re:really fast? (3, Funny)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731183)

yes, according to the project leader "on this supercomputer, OpenOffice will finally *run* at decent speed, but waiting for the JVM to start up will still be a bitch" As for KDE, he stated "we're still waiting for the qt toolkit to initialize, but we're confident we can be fully logged in before August"

Re:really fast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731400)

i know this is a joke but i don't get it - you guys must have slow pcs is all i can say. kde ain't slow for me..

I run Windows 98SE... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731132)

... you insensitive clods

What happened to RISC? (1)

d0d0 (608351) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731135)

what happend to RISC...

Re:What happened to RISC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731170)

All the companies shy away from and want to minimize it...

Re:What happened to RISC? (3, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731202)

AMD and Intel happened. What do you think is running your computer right now (assuming it's an x86)? It a RISC chip that has x86 translater attached, the core of the chip is RISC.

Re:What happened to RISC? (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731232)

Well, this system is neither RISC nor CISC. Itaniums are VLIW. IIRC, it too does have an x86 translator somewhere, but they work far better with native code.

Re:What happened to RISC? (2, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731336)

True. There are at least two different x86 emulators available. There is the HW one that is built in and the newer and faster IA-32 Execution Layer (currently only available for windows).

It became obsolete (3, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731262)

RISC stands for "reduced instruction set computer". It made sense in the 1980's when the "CISC", complex instruction set computers, took tens or hundreds of clock cycles to execute some instructions. With RISC one had less instructions, but each instruction executed in less clock cycles, resulting in a faster computer. Today, CPU's with full-size instruction sets execute most of them as fast as a RISC CPU does, so there is no need to limit the instruction set anymore. Even such complex instructions as multyplying double-precision floating point numbers are executed in a single clock cycle in a Pentium 4.

Re:What happened to RISC? (4, Interesting)

Epistax (544591) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731339)

RISC and CISC offer no final advantage over the other, so the one that dominated is the one that was here first.

Quick examples: RISC use less power because it has less logic? No, it needs to run at a higher frequency to maintain the same speed as a slower CISC.
RISC is easier to program? Depends on the person. A compiler can take advantage of large instructions very well which are hardware optimized.
RISC easier to develop/manage? I'll say yes for RISC on this one. There's simply less logic on the chip so less logical errors possible. There's plenty more cache which can break but broken parts can be fused off.
RISC is physically smaller? No. RISC needs a higher clock frequency because many more instructions need to be executed. The result of this is that a much larger instruction cache is needed on chip.

I don't remember every comparison but it pretty much comes out that neither is better than the other. That being said RISC is better than x86. Everything is better than x86. However CISC vs RISC is much harder to judge. Having done x86, 68k, and MIPS I must say that RISC is a pleasure.

Re:What happened to RISC? (1)

baywulf (214371) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731361)

RISC is still used in new processors these days. The key attributes of RISC processors are a fixed instruction size, few addressing modes and one clock execution. You will see this one most architectures now. Actually the advantages of RISC and CISC have mixed in an concept called superscalar. With superscalar there are many execution units and a instruction scheduler will dispatch instructions in an out-of-order manner if necessary to give better performance while handling dependencies and resource constraints. With the method, it is possible for the instruction scheduler to translate CISC style instructions into RISC style micro operations before processing.

RISC overrated (3, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731503)

It's ok for embedded and other areas (slower CPUs) but with desktop/server CPUs being much faster than memory speeds and remaining so for the forseeable future, having common and popular instructions being shorter than other instructions is actually an advantage despite the complexity that involves.

It's like having on-the-fly instruction decompression. e.g. CISC programs tend to be smaller in main memory+cache, and they travel in CISC/"compressed" form taking up less memory bandwidth over the memory/cache buses to the CPU instruction decoder where they are "decompressed" to RISC micro-ops to be executed.

Look at the mainstream desktop/workstation/server CPUs. Only the SPARC is RISC. IBM POWER/PowerPC is barely RISC[1], some people think it's more CISC than RISC. Itanium isn't RISC. x86 isn't. The rest (Alpha, MIPS, PA-RISC) are either out of the market or on their way out.

As long as CPUs are fast and much faster than RAM (and cache remaining expensive), it's often worth doing the compression/decompression thing.

[1] I believe IBM's POWER chips actually decode their "RISC" instructions to simpler instructions, some of their "RISC" instructions are pretty complex- kinda oxymoronic... But as I mentioned, that may not be such a bad thing.

Why gaming? (2, Funny)

wyldwyrm (693798) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731141)

Obviously this would be overkill for doom3(altho I'd still like to have it in my apartment as a space heater/server)! Ok, so it would be more than a space heater; I'd have to run my a/c 24/7/365.25, with all my windows open in the winter. But rendering would be sooooo sweet.

Re:Why gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731281)

24/7/365.25

Nothing personal but this has always bothered me...

24 hours a day. Ok.
7 days a week. Ok.
365.. weeks a 7 year? 365 weeks a half fortyear? What the hell.

Re:Why gaming? (1)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731389)

24/7/365

It's used by marketing-types who don't understand that 24/7 already means every day of the year.

Re:Why gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731436)

Well, logically it could be reduced to 24. Even 1 (as in second per second)

The big question is... (4, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731166)

...how easy it is to install printer and sound drivers?

Re:The big question is... (4, Funny)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731264)

Well on Windows you'd get a message saying...

"Windows has detected 1024 new sound cards and is installing them..."

and then the inevitable..

"Windows needs to restart your computer. Click OK to restart"

and then on system restart ...

1024 sound control apps in the system tray! =)

In other news... (4, Funny)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731174)

Microsoft made a statement today reminding everyone that Windows Server 2003 can handle as many as 32 processors, at the same time even.

When shown the report about Linux running on 1024 processors, Gates purportedly responded, "32 processors ought to be enough for anybody."

32 is quite BIG (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731483)

I don't think many people realize how _HUGE_ is a 32 processor box (myself at least I can't even imagine it). As someone already told you, win 2k3 supports 64 CPUs not 32. But I bet they could make it run in ej: 128 cpus with no much effort (if any).

Why they don't to it? Plain simple: money. That SGI box is a special case because some "national" thing. Enterprises don't use 1024, or even 128 or 64 cpus in most of the cases: The run clusters of small machines, that's what it sells today and that's where Microsoft is putting their eyes.

Imagine... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731187)

...a beowulf cluster of one of those?

Clusters... (0, Redundant)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731198)

I was going to ask why not just build a cluster instead. Then, the Slashdot herd mentality took hold, and this thought crossed my mind:

"My god, imagine a Beowulf cluster of those!"

Weather data? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731226)

...With the new Altix machine, researchers will have far more computing power for their work, which includes weather-data analysis...

Hm...weather-data analysis? who gives something for the weather? Use it to calcute prime numbers and if you want to see if its going to rain just go outside and take a look at the sky! you dont need to invest U$S 10M to know that its going to rain!

Similar software available? (2, Interesting)

Pierce (154) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731280)

With the exception of the NUMA stuff, is there software available to re-create this? I'm not even sure what to search for; would this still be considered a "cluster"?

Re:Similar software available? (5, Informative)

dwgranth (578126) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731463)

well, sgi uses/hacks NUMA, spinlocks, etc to make this happen in a more efficient manner. We recently had a SGI rep come and explain their 512CPU architechture at our LUG meeting... and he basically said that SGI has their own implementation of all of the clustering/cpu stacking techs... which they will eventually feed back into the community.. all good stuff.. understandably they will wait for a year or so so they can get their money's worth before they release their changes.

Government spending (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731284)

You could have linked 5 Xserves together for the same power.

Or a quad operton.

from MPI to multithreaded ? (3, Interesting)

InodoroPereyra (514794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731288)

From the article:
Earlier cluster supercomputers at the NCSA used multiple images of the Linux operating system -- one for each node -- along with dedicated memory allocations for each CPU. What makes this system more powerful for researchers is that all of the memory will be available for the applications and calculations, helping to speed and refine the work being done, Pennington said.

"The users get one memory image they have to deal with," he said. "This makes programming much easier, and we expect it to give better performance as well."

So, anyone has any insights as to why/how this matters for the programmers ? Does this mean that the applications running on the "old" clusters, presumably using some flavor of MPI to communicate between nodes, will have to be ported somehow to become multithreaded applications ? Or maybe they will still run using MPI on the big shared memory pool, and each process will be sent to the appropriate node by the OS on demand ? Thanks !

Re:from MPI to multithreaded ? (1)

xyote (598794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731409)

I presume it means that the application can directly access the shared data through the NUMA memory rather than using mpi to access the data from whatever node it thinks the data is on. Data coherency gets moved down into the hardware/kernel layer rather than up at the application layer. The communication of the data would be done by a low latency interconnect either way.

This article is news to me. My impression was that HPC programmers preferred mpi over shared memory multi-threading because they found the former somehow more intuitive and less error prone.

Its and experiment..... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731290)

.... to see just how far you can stretch a bit before the MP loses control....

Coincidence? (1, Redundant)

Quirk (36086) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731340)

First Doom 3 now this... coincidence? I don't think so.

Re:Coincidence? (1)

DARKFORCE123 (525408) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731417)

You're right. Doom 3's story is about opening a portal to Hell.

The guys at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications want to one up ID and use this machine to help open a portal to Hell in the real world resulting in our Final Doom.

The solution! (5, Funny)

Sidicas (691633) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731377)

"will run a single Linux operating system image across 1,024 Intel Corp. Itanium 2 processors..."
"The National Center for Supercomputing Applications will use it for research"


1. Make a system that generates more heat than a supernova.
2.Research a solution to global warming.
3. Profit!

Advantages...? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731414)

Really, I know this is off topic, but what are the advantages of having more CPUs on a computer system? I have been approached by various vendors explaining to me why a system with dual CPUs would be better. Wouldn't I be able to harness the same performance by using more and more RAM or just a more powerful CPU?

Re:Advantages...? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731481)

Short answer.... no

Re:Advantages...? (4, Informative)

myg (705374) | more than 9 years ago | (#9731502)

Because a machine like that isn't about running Apahce or serving files.

The purpose of that computer is to solve complex scientific problems such as weather simulations, high-energy particle simulations, protine folding, etc. Many of these simulations involve iterated systems of equations that can take decades to solve on the fastest CPU's we have today.

The only way to get meaningful results in a meaningful amount of time is to break the problem apart into smaller problems and solve them in parallel.

Some projects, such as Folding@Home [stanford.edu] and Find-A-Drug [find-a-drug.org] go the distributed computing route -- use many disconnected systems to solve the problem.

The downside to that approach is that not all problems can be easily broken apart -- and some classes of problems can exist without tight coupling but they loose efficiency. The impressive thing about this particular super computer is that it has a single, unified memory image.

This is very useful for some classes of simulation problems when the entire simulation must be present for each iteration.

Houston we have a problem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9731470)

Why is NCSA buying big iron like this when the National Science Foundation has told them to start steering away buying machines like this?

And from SGI for crying out loud! What are these people thinking?
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>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...