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Technology (Apple) Businesses Apple Technology

200-Gigaflop Mac Cluster 49

Mauro Notarianni writes in that the Danish Technical University (DTU) has developed the Scandinavia's largest dedicated Mac cluster. "Velocity-X" is packed with 32 dual G4/800's (200 Gigaflops), and will be turned on Monday. Its primary use will be studying the influence of proteins on cancer, and, more importantly, large film and animation projects. It can be rented for DKK 50,000 (about USD 6,500) per week.
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200-Gigaflop Mac Cluster

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  • Its primary use will be studying the influence of proteins on cancer, and, more importantly, large film and animation projects.

    It's nice that the /. community is sensitive to a variety of issues.

  • Importance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by recursiv ( 324497 ) on Friday June 21, 2002 @06:14PM (#3746645) Homepage Journal

    Its primary use will be studying the influence of proteins on cancer, and, more importantly, large film and animation projects.

    More importantly? Animation? Than cancer?
    Apparently someone hasn't had any relatives die of cancer recently. That's a pretty insensitive remark. If this was a comment, I would be sure it was a troll.

  • Should I say it? I hate to. But I should. Cuz if I don't, someone else will. So here goes:

    "Imagine a beowulf cluster of theeeeese "

  • I would imagine using the Xserve would take a lot less space
  • Is this cost-competitive with generic x86 clusters?

    Does this offer any advantages over generic x86 clusters?(rendering software, I assume?)

    What is a technical university going to do with this that requires Apple graphics software?

    • I found... (Score:2, Informative)

      this article [], which may shed some light on what they plan to do with this and why OSX is a requirement. Does anybody know anything more about protein crystallography and why it would require "stereo" video cards?
      • Re:I found... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Friday June 21, 2002 @11:49PM (#3747925) Journal
        If you shine light through a crystal, it is diffracted in a specific manner that can be corollated with the internal structure of that crystal. Shining X-Rays through crystallized protein will similarly produce a diffraction pattern that can be used to determine the three dimensional structure of that protein.

        A stereo video card is a system that can present different video images to the left and right eye of the user, producing an illusion of depth. I would imagine that this would be very helpful in visualizing three dimensional protein structure.

    • Re:questions (Score:2, Informative)

      by benh57 ( 525452 )
      The OS X version os BLAST (a bioinformatics package - what they are doing) is apparently many times faster than any PC version, due to its altivec/vector optimization.
  • MacOS X doesn't strike me as a good choice for a cluster OS. No process migration. No kernel-level checkpointing. No network channel bonding. etc. etc.

    Does anyone know what software they'll be using to study those proteins?

    • Re:MacOS X cluster (Score:2, Informative)

      by foo12 ( 585116 )
      This page [] is mostly Apple PR but it does link to several clustering solutions for Mac OS X as well as Mac OS 9.

      As for the software running over the cluster itself, I'd imagine most of it --- if not all of it --- is custom written for the task at hand.
  • Sounds Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Higatsuku ( 522431 ) on Saturday June 22, 2002 @01:23AM (#3748194)
    Consistantly, Apple has been making strides to create a platform that is ideal for scientific applications like this. The Altivec processing unit allows the G4 to handle 256bit chunks of data at a time and process it fast. The large cache will allow the process to never starve for info from ram. Optimized number crunching aps for Mac smoke (most) anything else out there, and certainly anything on the x86 side of computing.

    Further more, anyone out there who complains about wintel and isn't up to their neck in open source development should back off on the Apple bashing. Here is a company who is, at the very least, trying to innovate or just evolve computing to be better for everyone. (while making money, as any business is designed to) Unintelligent Apple bashing is getting pretty old by now. Why don't you come up with some factual arguements..or better yet, go to an Apple store and use one for a while. Start the terminal..find out just how half-baked windows is compared to OS X and how easy the Mac OS is compared to the hair pulling fun of linux. (yes I know red had can be installed by a monkey, but if you break it, good luck for any newbie)

    Just a piece of my mind.
  • counting about 4 fp per clock cycle! Only a trivial loop in assembler can achieve this kind of performance. I bet that on the LINPACK benchmark, considering a fast ethernet network, this thing can achieve maybe 50 GFlops max depending on the amount of memory available. A cluster of XP 1800s delivering the same performance costs about $30,000 nowadays including a switch. Besides, I see only the point of paying for computer power in the case of, say, a 1 hour run on a 1000 processor machine with 500 Gb of RAM, which one could never achieve on "normal" workstations. The danish MacWulf doesn't seem so interesting.

  • PowerPC's smoke in I'm sure this setup is pretty cheap.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.