Virginia Tech ‘Big Mac’ supercomputer attracting potential customers

“Virginia Tech’s decision to replace its ‘Big Mac’ supercomputer processors with Apple Computer Xserve G5 servers will make the installation more attractive to the federal agencies and organizations negotiating with the university for its novel supercomputer technology,” W. David Gardner reports for TechWeb News.

“A Virginia Tech spokesperson said the university and Apple Computer have received ‘a number of inquiries’ from federal agencies to use the university’s installation or its supercomputer-kit technology to build their own supercomputer installations. The key proprietary piece of the installation–recently ranked the third most powerful supercomputer in the world–is its fault-tolerant software environment called D


  1. The only downside is that some of these computers may never be ranked due to their classified uses. Apple may have several of the top ten supercomputers in the world and we will never know it.

  2. I don’t think NSA would ever, ever allow the public to find out what kinda of machinery they have to decrypt your emails, and other nations secure communication.
    I am sure they have a beast of a machine to run decrypt 24/7. After all they have a vast budget. And some of the best programmers/cryptos out there.
    NSA gotta love Windows, if they can just confirm that a baddie is using windows they can take a walk into his system and get what they need, without anything more than little old dumb terminal.

    Trust me, there are a few Supercomputers that isn’t shown on

  3. Virginia Tech’s supercomputer uses 1,100 multi processor G5 mac’s with Srinidhi Varadarajan’s batch design. Could that design be used with more mac’s? Is their a limit with the current design?

  4. I agree that not all supercomputers are “known”. However, how difficult would it be for people with money and expertise to construct a supercomputer in absolute secrecy?

  5. Umm, Virginia Tech, I’d be happy to take one (may two or three) slightly used G5 computers off of your hands when you upgrade ’em.

    BTW how is the faster processor in the Xserve (vs original G5) gonna affect the rankings?

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