Japanese Scientists Launch Linux Supercluster

Japanese scientists have built their largest distributed-computing grid yet, a Linux-based supercluster that performs 11 trillion floating operations per second, at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Salt Lake City-based Linux Networx this week disclosed.

As Japan’s largest public research organization, AIST is charged with the mission of research and development in industrial science and technology, as well as undertaking complex geological surveys, setting measurement standards and developing technological applications for the private sector.

AIST’s Grid Research and Technology Center (GRTC) is housing the new grid computer.

Evolocity Evolution

Linux Networx supplied the key component of the grid computer — a 556-processor Evolocity II cluster system — and integrated it with an existing cluster system at AIST in Japan, working in partnership with SGI.

The E2 cluster consists of 556 Intel Xeon 3.06-GHz processors and will include cluster-management tools from Linux Networx, Clusterworx and ICE Box, providing cluster management from just one interface.

“The GTRC aims to become the focal point of research and development in the grid communities in Japan and Asia-Pacific region,” Satoshi Sekigucki, director of the GTRC, told LinuxInsider.

“To accomplish this goal, we must have cutting-edge cluster systems that are reliable and powerful,” he said. “The cluster provided by Linux Networx and SGI will be a key contributor to the success of the Grid program and we look forward to advances the cluster will make in our research programs.”

This is the second major contract win for Linux Networx, which recently announced a deal for a cluster computer with the Pentagon.

Beast of Burden

Researchers said that the new Linux Networx cluster will “reduce the burden” of the AIST supercluster by “processing smaller jobs” and providing common storage over the entire system. The technology will be employed primarily for grid computing and other research areas, like bioinformatics and nanotechnology.

The E2 cluster was delivered to a newly established GTRC, and finished AIST’s acceptance testing on March 25th, researchers said.

Partnering with SGI Japan, Linux Networx provided a shared file system and 20 terabytes of storage that enables data sharing over multiple systems in the supercluster. A reseller of Linux Networx solutions, Best Systems, is also working with Linux Networx to assist with system integration and support after the cluster is finished.

Moreover, Linux Networx KK, a subsidiary of Linux Networx, was establish in March 2003 as part of the company’s expansion efforts throughout Asia.

Major Win

The Japanese project is a major win for the cluster developer. “AIST is a critical component to the Asian and Japanese research community and their extensive grid research program demonstrates their progressive thinking and leadership role in developing new technology,” Clark Roundy, vice president of Asia Pacific operations for Linux Networx, told LinuxInsider.

The U.S. Department of Defense a few weeks ago reached a deal with Linux Networx for technology akin to that now being used in Japan. The Pentagon purchased a 2,132-processor Evolocity II cluster for the Army Research Laboratory, the largest Intel-based Linux cluster for the Army.

These recent customer awards demonstrate that cluster technology has been validated for high-performance computing, Dean Hutchings, chief operating officer of Linux Networx, told LinuxInsider.

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