"How to build your own supercomputer: Take a few
off-the-shelf, stripped-down PCs, add some network switches, a maze
of Ethernet cabling and some homegrown Linux software, and you'll
be well on your way.
Hewlett-Packard, together with a national laboratory in France,
tried this recipe out and, to the great surprise of many
scientists, it worked.
What they ended up with is the "I-Cluster," a Mandrake
Linux-powered cluster of 225 PCs that has benchmarked its way into
the list of the top 500 most powerful computers in the world.
At a technical session last summer, scientists from HP's labs in
Grenoble, France, started talking to experts at the local INRIA
Rhone-Alps (France's National Institute for Research in Computer
Science) about the possibility of doing "something a little
unusual." The idea was to build a supercomputer out of standard
hardware components like those that might be found in the typical
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