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Infoworld: IBM demonstrates Linux servers matching supercomputer speeds

Mar 09, 1999, 22:11 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ed Scannel)


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"Trying to burnish its engineering image as well as demonstrate the technical possibilities of Linux, IBM slapped together an "open-source supercomputer'" at LinuxWorld Expo last week built around a cluster of Pentium II Xeon chips."

"Using a subset of the Beowulf clustering technology, 17 of IBM's Netfinity servers containing 36 Pentium II chips and running an off-the-shelf copy of Linux matched the scalability and performance of a Cray supercomputer. The IBM system executed a computer graphics-rendering application called the PovRay benchmark."

"The PovRay benchmark is intended to serve as a guide for the relative mathematical performance of a wide variety of chips, systems, and compilers. It is a ray-tracing image-rendering application by which a picture or image can be inserted in a movie such as Toy Story or Antz and subsequently be rendered with all shadows and rays of light appearing as they would fall relative to that picture or image."

"It is a big computational job. Ten years ago it would have taken a [Digital Equipment] VAX [minicomputer] 10 or 15 minutes to do. A Cray can do it in three seconds today,'' said Tom Figgatt, IBM's e-business segment manager, in Somers, N.Y."

"During the demonstration, IBM's Linux-based supercomputer matched the current benchmark record of three seconds that was set by the Cray T3t-900-AC64, which had previously surpassed the second fastest time of 9 seconds."

Ed Note -- A great story to show your boss

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