A unit built from 1,100 Apple Macs has achieved a speed of 8.7 teraflops, putting it in line to be the third fastest in the world--at a fraction of the cost of the two machines ahead of it.
A supercomputer built from 1,100 Apple Macs by faculty and students at Virginia Polytechnic Institute has achieved a speed of 8.7 trillion operations per second, surpassing a result reported earlier this week and putting the computer in line to be the world's third fastest.
Jason Lockhart, director of high-performance computing at the college of engineering at Virginia Tech, said Friday that the supercomputer, built for a little more than $5 million, is running the Linpack benchmark at a sustained speed of 8.7 teraflops, eclipsing a result of 7.41 teraflops achieved in earlier tests. That would place it third on a closely watched list of the world's fastest supercomputer--trailing only an NEC system called the Earth Simulator in Japan and ASCI Q, a Hewlett-Packard supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory--at a fraction of the cost.
The official results of the Top 500 list maintained by the universities of Tennessee and Mannheim, Germany, are expected to be announced at a supercomputing conference in Phoenix next month.
The Virginia Tech system was assembled from off-the-shelf Apple Macintosh computers running 2,200 64-bit IBM microprocessors. "We wanted price-performance," Lockhart says. The IBM processors in Apple's G5 Macs cost one-tenth as much as Intel's Itanium 2 processor and also less than a 64-bit chip from Advanced Micro Devices, he says. About 10 faculty members at Virginia Tech are expected to start writing code for the machine early next year.
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.