U.S. Army’s 1,566 64-bit Apple Xserve G5 supercluster can exceed 25 teraflops

When the Hypersonic Missile Technology (HMT) team at COLSA Corporation and the U.S. Army need to model hypersonic flight on a computer system, they’ll no longer have to wait two months to get results. The HMT team, headed by senior scientist Dr. John Medeiros, now has access to one of the world’s largest and most powerful computers: a supercluster of 1,566 64-bit, dual-processor Apple Xserve G5 servers.

Called MACH5 – an acronym for Multiple Advanced Computers for Hypersonics – the Apple cluster “gives us more than 60 times the computational power of our current production machine,” says Medeiros. What used to take two months can now be done in a day. “A single person using a hand-held calculator – without pausing to eat or sleep – would need more than two million years to calculate what the Apple supercluster can calculate in a single second.”

“Once you have that kind of computational power,” Medeiros adds, “you can look at things with higher resolution and see other problems you want to investigate. Plus you can tackle much larger problems.”

Medeiros and the COLSA team chose the Xserve-based supercluster to model the complex aero-thermodynamics of hypersonic flight for the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) of the U.S. Army at nearby Redstone Arsenal. Working with the COLSA team, Drs. Billy Walker and Kevin Kennedy of RDECOM conduct leading-edge analysis of hypersonic flight for a number of important military programs.

At its peak, the supercluster can exceed 25 teraflops – calculating more than 25 trillion floating-point operations per second. By comparison, the world

90 Comments

  1. JadisOne,

    It can also send viruses to unsuspecting Wintel users. WHOOSH!

    Seriously, what an amazing setup, I’m gonna get one in my attic, just as soon as I’ve reinforced the floor.

  2. The sidebar clearly states the OS as being OS X Server!!

    How many other institutions seriously consider XP Server as an operating system when designing a super computer?

    �A single person using a hand-held calculator � without pausing to eat or sleep � would need more than two million years to calculate what the Apple supercluster can calculate in a single second.�

    Zoom – Zoom – Zoom

  3. a single person using a hand-held knife – without pausing to sleep or eat – would need more than 2 million years to kill the people a Hypersonic Missile can kill in a single second.

  4. Sure, a 1,566 Xserve G5 cluster is fine, *if* you’re an artist or designer. For real work, you need a PC. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  5. After looking over the article, a few considerations:

    1. FORTRAN? How quaint!
    2. IBM’s C++ compiler is now available on OS X? Quick! Recompile and rerun all the benchmarks!
    3. They use PowerPoint and Keynote for presentations? I’d love to see how that works out (eg, they do the presentations in Keynote and then have downloadable PowerPoint slides?)
    4. 110 tons of HVAC?! Your average home air condition is two to five tons. Average computer rooms are 30 tons or so. The scary part? According to the article, the G5 ran the coolest! I’d hate to see what the others required!
    5. Unfortunately, they don’t name names in the benchmarks. “One cluster alternative…” indeed! C’mon, man! Which one?! We need bashing material! :^)

  6. …For “real work” you need a PC…

    I couldn’t agree more… after all its “real work” to patch these damn things every day, it’s “real work” to reboot all the time, it’s “real work” to reinstall your OS every week, it’s “real work” to put up with the grief of everything not working for no aparent reason…

    Yep, for “real work” you do need a PC. You just need a Mac to get stuff done ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  7. Bah humbug. I still prefer my overheated, virus prone, power demanding, more expensive, crash plagued Windows Server clusters.

    We are still #1!! EAT THAT APPLE!

    Sincerely,

    IM A. Lemming

  8. “a single person using a hand-held knife – without pausing to sleep or eat – would need more than 2 million years to kill the people a Hypersonic Missile can kill in a single second.”

    Actually, a hypersonic missile could kill very few people. It’s that explosive warhead that kills people.

    Still, it made me laugh.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.