I'm Not Going to Pay a Lot for This Supercomputer!
In Table 2, we summarize the price/performance of several machines capable of running the NAS (Numerical Aerospace Simulation Facility at NASA Ames Research Center) Class B benchmarks: Loki, the SGI Origin 2000, the IBM SP-2 P2SC and the DEC AlphaServer 8400/440.
A gravitational N-body simulation won LANL's Michael Warren and Caltech's John Salmon a Gordon Bell Performance Prize in 1992. A scant five years later, that same calculation can be run on a $50,000 machine. Technology continues to advance (Warren and Salmon recently achieved 170 sustained GFLOPS while running the N-body code with over 320 million particles on half of the nearly 10,000 processors of the Teraflops “ASCI Red” machine at Sandia National Laboratory), but the cost of the ever-improving “high-end” supercomputers keeps them beyond the reach of all but a lucky few. Even those lucky few must compete with one another for processor time in the never-ending game of large-scale computation. Commodity parts provide an opportunity for a handful of users to have a significant share of processor cycles on a machine which is capable of solving enormous computational problems in a reasonable time. Linux and the free software movement provide the software to take full advantage of the hardware's capabilities.
Jim Hill (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a graduate research assistant at Los Alamos National Laboratory who's thinking about renaming one of his two Linux boxes a zeroth-degree hypercube.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide