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LWN: Predicting the weather with Linux - FSL's cluster

Mar 21, 2000, 22:16 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"This isn't just any supercomputer, though: it's a Beowulf-style Linux cluster. It is, perhaps, the first system of its kind. Government agencies have been piecing together clusters for years, but this may be the first that was purchased as a supported commercial product...."

"The FSL cluster (called "Jet") currently consists of 276 nodes, organized into three long banks. The nodes are unmodified, off-the-shelf Compaq Alpha systems with 667 MHz processors and 512 MB of memory. The current installation is simply the first phase of the system; the second phase, due to be deployed by late summer, will double the number of nodes. Then comes the third phase where, according to Mr. Lindahl, it "gets really big." The third phase also involves replacing the nodes currently being used, on the idea that they will be considered somewhat slow by then...."

"The nodes in the Jet cluster run Red Hat's Alpha distribution, almost straight out of the box. They have applied the NFSv3 patch, and added a module for the Myrinet networking; it is otherwise a stock system. Low-level networking is done with MPI, though they have a version which has been hacked to work well with Myrinet."

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