Enterprise Linux Today: Linux-based IBM Supercomputer is DoD’s First, for Micro-weather Forecasting

“In the wake of one of the most devastating forest fire seasons
in history, IBM has announced that the U.S. government has
purchased an IBM eServer supercomputer that will provide
hyper-accurate weather data to help authorities battle the
destructive blazes. The machine, which will also handle other
important projects, is the first Linux-based supercomputer in the
Department of Defense’s (DoD) computing arsenal, indicating that
the open-source operating system is making inroads into the world
of mission-critical computing.”

“The new IBM supercomputer can process 478 billion calculations
per second — 40 times faster than the IBM “Deep Blue”
supercomputer that defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.
…one of the projects undertaken by the IBM eServer supercomputer
will be the construction of high-resolution weather simulations and
models. Unlike conventional weather outlooks, micro-forecasts
are highly localized — able to predict, for example, subtle
variations in wind velocity and precipitation over distances as
small as three kilometers.”

“The government’s system, located at the Maui High Performance
Computing Center (MHPCC), is a sophisticated computing cluster that
harnesses the power of 256 IBM eServer x330 thin servers to achieve
a peak speed of 478 billion calculations per second. The servers
each contain two Pentium III processors and are linked together
with special Myrinet clustering software and high speed networking
hardware, enabling the separate computers to work together as unit.
IBM eServer xSeries machines are affordable Intel-based servers
with mainframe-inspired reliability technologies.”


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