Linux supercomputer does a teraflop

A Sydney-based Linux cluster has cracked the teraflop barrier to become Australia's fastest supercomputer, its owners claim.

The Australian Centre for Advanced Computing and Communications' (ac3) 155-node Dell cluster can perform at 1.07 teraflops per second, or 1,095 gigaflops per second, according to the Linpack benchmark. A teraflop is one trillion calculations.

Dr Philip McCrea, CEO, said ac3 started benchmarking the machine's performance three weeks ago.

"We began testing and after the first two weeks it was below a teraflop, so that was really disappointing. Then we added more processors, changed compilers and changed the tuning and we broke the teraflop [number]."

Dr McCrea said ac3 had since stopped intensive tests, and so did not expect the speed to increase greatly in the future.

The supercomputer uses Dell PowerEdge 1750 servers with dual Intel Xeon processor nodes, each with 2GB of memory. Red Hat Linux is the operating system.

Computerworld was first to report the news of ac3's $750,000 Linux supercomputer acquisition in August, making it Australia's biggest Linux supercomputer. The organisation is funded by the Australian Research Council and a consortium of NSW universities, which use the machine for research.

"The chemists will use every node [for the supercomputer's power]," said McCrea.

"We also do financial modelling; anything that requires modelling of the real world will benefit from this power."

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