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Infoworld: IBM demonstrates Linux servers matching supercomputer speeds

“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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