US Army’s ‘MACH 5’ Apple supercomputer opens eyes

“With the announcement that it is providing 1,566 servers to an Army supercomputer project, Apple Computer Inc. is making a move into the high-performance computing market that may open new doors for the company,” Michael Hardy writes for Federal Computer Week.

“Historically strong in the consumer and business markets, Apple has not previously had much of a presence in the server market, especially not in high-performance clusters, according to analysts. But that may be changing with a new operating system based on Unix, and the horsepower of the PowerPC chipset that Apple machines use,” Hardy writes. “Colsa Corp. recently chose Apple’s Xserve G5 processors for the Army project. The supercomputer that Colsa officials will build should have a peak performance of 25 teraflops, or 25 trillion operations/ sec. The system, to be built in Huntsville, Ala., will model the complex aerothermodynamics of hypersonic flight for the Army. The system is called Multiple Advanced Computers for Hypersonic research, or MACH 5.”

“The Xserve is a superior server, said Anthony DiRenzo, executive vice president of Colsa. He chose Apple’s product based on its performance, power requirements and cost, he said, adding that one key element in his decision was the system’s low power consumption,” Hardy writes. “‘We put these clusters into production for a user who uses it all day and all night,’ DiRenzo said. ‘This thing needs to be up, it needs to be stable, it needs to be online.'”

Full article here.

30 Comments

  1. “Did they completely overlook the original G5 cluster at Va.Tech? Aparently so, since all they said was that VaTech was in the PROCESS of building one, rather than ANOTHER one, which vaulted into third place the first time it was a viable competitor.” – BuriedCaesar

    I think it’s just semantics though. They are re-building their cluster using Xserve, not building another one as in a second cluster. The article does make it sound like VT is building one for the first time for readers unfamiliar with the story. However, it is correct if you strictly look at it from the Xserve G5 point of view since the previous cluster was based on PMG5.

  2. No to Shrub, and Mr. Bungle,

    First of all, I should ask if either of you are challenging the need for the Army. If you are not, then I want to know if you are suggesting that the Army should disengage from conducting reasearch that may enhance their mission-effectiveness, thus putting fewer soldiers’ lives at risk.

    An unfortunate geopolitical fact of life is that that many nations need standing military forces, who have been entrusted with a mission and whose members are prepared to risk their lives for their respective countries. I think we would all be better served if we thank them for their willingness to serve, and require our leaders to make sure that our men and women in uniform are not ill-used.

  3. Patriot,
    This system is for research purposes, it has no place in the command infrastructure, which by the way isn’t entrusted to any single system. In fact managing multiple redundancies was one of the prime motivations behind the ARPAnet project, which of course became the Internet.

  4. Re: Viridian

    Thank God somebody with sense is here. I’m tried of hearing people whine about how bad our military is. If we didn’t have them, we either wouldn’t be here, or we wouldn’t be allowed to whine about government things we don’t like. It seems like these people think if we disbanded our military, everybody else would do the same and live in harmony. Maybe our military too does good of a job of sheltering us from the cruelty of the larger world. Pathetic.

  5. From Viridian:

    “First of all, I should ask if either of you are challenging the need for the Army”

    Um, no, and why would you have to ask? I think a properly deployed military force could act as a deterrent in many, if not most situations.

    “and require our leaders to make sure that our men and women in uniform are not ill-used.”

    Yes. That would be refreshing!

    Krioni-
    “I’m tried of hearing people whine about how bad our military is”

    Who was whining? I looked at the posts 3 times and couldn’t uncover any whining or any references to how bad our military is. Put the crack pipe down, it’ll all be alright…

    Yeesh, ya make a comment lamenting war and death and some folks just go apeshit. Go figure…

  6. Mr Bungle:

    The original poster complained:
    “Too bad it’s going to see how fast we can kill people”

    Perhaps he is merely lamenting the necessity of doing that. Unfortunately, that is not a safe assumption, as many people in the world seem to think there is no such necessity, and advocate letting enemies kill us instead (although they might not realize that is what they are advocating). Reasonable people DO “lament war and death” while being still appreciating those who prevent others from killing us. Unreasonable people have gotten a lot of press lately saying that all fighting is wrong.

  7. “Perhaps he is merely lamenting the necessity of doing that. Unfortunately, that is not a safe assumption, as many people in the world seem to think there is no such necessity, and advocate letting enemies kill us instead”

    Safer to assume someone’s whining. I see. Didja ever hear the term “knee-jerk”?

  8. Mr. Bungle,
    I asked because it appeared at first blush that you were supporting No To Shrub’s statement about the military use of the MACH 5 cluster. Your later posts make it abundantly clear that you were not.

    And I agree with you: while it may be necessary to occasionally engage in war, violence and death should always be lamented. It diminishes us all, no matter how just our cause.

  9. re: thanks but no thanks
    “Heaven save me from patriots and military that must enslave me in order to save me from enemies I didn’t even know I had.”

    Oh, for goodness sakes – you can read about the enemies you “didn’t even know you had” in such conservative stalwarts as the New York Times, and view those right-wing propaganda machines called CNN and BBC.

    If al Quaeda and other terrorist groups and other violent extremists are not your enemies, then you must be against free speech, freedom of religion and the press, and basically any non-theocratic fanatical tyrannies.In that case, your enemies would be modern civilization. Which is it?

  10. Umm…clear this up for me will you? How exactly is the military “enslaving” you? If you haven’t been forcibly conscripted, you’re talking shit. And I can guarantee that there are people out there who wish you ill, even without you knowing anything about it. The tinfoil hat brigade may be paranoid, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re wrong about everything.

    “wasnt this thred about super computer a while back…”

    Amen!!

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