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Big Mac achieves around 14 TFlops with 128 Nodes 307

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-a-lotta-flops dept.
mzs writes "The Virginia Tech G5 cluster has achieved around 80% of its peak performance in preliminary Linpack testing with 128 nodes according to Jack Dongarra at the Top 500. "They're getting about 80 percent of the theoretical peak," Dongarra said. "If it holds, and it's unclear if it will, it has the potential to be the world's second most powerful machine." Typically getting 60% of peak in the Top 500 lists is quite good. If the Big Mac cluster achieves 60% of peak it would displace the 2,300 2.4 GHz Xeon cluster at LLNL for the number three spot on the current list."
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Big Mac achieves around 14 TFlops with 128 Nodes

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  • Premature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmichaelg (148257) on Thursday October 16, 2003 @02:51PM (#7231924) Journal
    The article says
    "We're just making up numbers here," Dongarra cautioned. "We don't have real numbers yet. If they get 80 percent, it will be slightly faster than (ASCI Q, the current No. 2 on the Top 500 list)."
    Then a little later, the article says:
    Lockhart cautioned that even if Big Mac beat most of the machines in the current Top 10, the list, which is compiled twice a year, is a moving target. Lockhart said there are four or five new supercomputers coming online that also may qualify for places in the Top 10.
    So to summarize, the data aren't in and nobody will really know where the machine ranks until all the data are in. About the only outcome one would expect is that the machine would outperform older technology.
  • Re:nope... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by physicsboy500 (645835) on Thursday October 16, 2003 @02:51PM (#7231926)

    I was going to say that something seemed terribly wrong... because when I read that I interpreted it as 128 nodes were pumping out 80% of it's peak at 14Tflops...

    if that were the case then the last 972 nodes would almost be a complete waste if they only gave a 20% preformance increase.

    good call on that Durinia!

  • SETI array (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darc (532156) on Thursday October 16, 2003 @02:57PM (#7231976) Journal
    Interestingly, a fun number to compare against is SETI@Home's array power, which is approximately 15 teraflops. [See the SETI@Home FAQ]

    Although they don't run Linpack, and therefore can't be considered on Top500 the same way, it's still cool to know that SETI would still place second on the supercomputing list. Back in 2001, they were averaging a very large number of teraflops as well, (>10TF) the figure is on the internet somewhere. In 2001, that was greater than the top three supercomputing sites combined.

    It would be interesting to see the power of the Seti array using today's processors.. which are arugably far faster than 2001's, despite the short amount of time.

    Still, SETI outperforms this mac cluster, although it's obvious that SETI's distribution model is clearly not usable for the same problems that need to be solved.
  • Pretty cheap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by randombit (87792) on Thursday October 16, 2003 @02:58PM (#7231992) Homepage
    From article: Dongarra said the cost is so low he questioned whether the college got a special discount.

    At $5.2 mil for 1100 machines, I think they paid full market price; that's over $4,500 per machine, and currently Apple is selling dual 2 Ghz G5's for ~$3000. And that's with lots of extras that they wouldn't want in a cluster (ATI 9600, CDRW, etc), which hopefully they convinced Apple they didn't need... (else they've got a whole lot of Mac keyboards sitting around!)

    I wonder how much of the cost was the actual machines, and how much was infrastructure and networking stuff (I can just see 1,100 Macs all powered off one extension cord and a bunch of surge protectors).
  • by crovira (10242) on Thursday October 16, 2003 @03:09PM (#7232161) Homepage
    I'm picking nits here but...

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