US Army’s ‘MACH 5’ Apple supercomputer offers unmatched price/performance

“The Army Research and Development Command will use a giant cluster of Apple Computer Inc.’s G5 servers [Xserves] to build one of the fastest supercomputers in the world to research the aerodynamics of hypersonic flight,” Brian Robinson reports for Federal Computer Week.

“The MACH 5 (Multiple Advanced Computers for Hypersonic research) supercomputer, announced earlier this week, will use 1,566 of the 64-bit dual-processor servers and is expected to top 25 teraflops per second when it comes online later this year. The fastest supercomputer in the world now is Japan’s Earth Simulator with a maximum performance of just less than 36 teraflops,” Robinson reports.

“MACH 5 will cost $5.8 million to construct, a fraction of the price purpose-built supercomputers bring. The Earth Simulator cost around $350 million. Apple won the Army contract after a competition among half a dozen companies based on such things as power requirements, cooling needs and floor space requirements, as well as performance,” Robinson reports.

Full article here.

51 Comments

  1. wow! we got sputnik and one-nut posting on the same article!

    hey guys, how’s it going? must be a slow news day today. nothing witty yet to have fun with…

  2. How many super cluster gigaflops does it take to model how much force required to beat a terrorist into submission without leaving any tell-tale marks for the Red Cross inspection?

  3. Good News for Apple & IBM
    When the MACH 5 and VT Clusters are online later this year Apple should have 2 of the 10 fastest Supercomputers in the world. Why is it good for IBM? IBM is already a huge player in this area and the G5 processor is an IBM product. The PPC design is making major strides these days and there will be more to come.

  4. No one here caught the obvious error?!
    “… is expected to top 25 teraflops per second”

    1 flop = 1 instruction per second
    1 teraflop = 1 trillion instructions per second
    1 teraflop per second = 1 trillion instructions per second per second

    I hardly think the author is talking about the rate at which instruction execution is being accelerated, but was rather being ignorantly redundant.

    It was correctly used later, “…just less than 36 teraflops”.

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