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CNET News.com: [Compaq] Making supercomputers out of cheap parts

“Compaq Computer has passed a milestone in a
government-sponsored project to create a fast but cheap
supercomputer out of relatively ordinary parts.
…has
demonstrated such a computer in its PathForward project, based at
Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The
computer ties together 128 servers through a high-speed
switch.”

“…PathForward… produced some blazingly fast computations but
still wasn’t fast enough to join the top tier of supercomputers.
The PathForward system hit a benchmark speed of 154 billion
calculations per second, well short of the ASCI program’s goals of
30 trillion calculations per second by 2001 and 100 triillion by
2004.”

“PathForward is based on 128 DS20 servers, each of which
contains two Alpha 21264 chips. These processors, originally made
by Digital Equipment, are lauded within the industry as being the
fastest number-crunching commercial chips. The computer also uses
Compaq’s Tru64 Unix operating system.”

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