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IBM, DOE, and VA Linux Building Open Cluster Center 65

DaveM writes "The Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory is working with IBM and VA Linux Systems to build "Chiba City" -- the largest supercomputing cluster dedicated to highly scalable open source software development. The 512-CPU Linux cluster will be opened to the U.S. research community, including universities, laboratories and industry. "
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IBM, DOE, and VA Linux Building Open Cluster Center

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  • Yay, at last IBM is making a computer that will run Notes comfortably.

    I guess since they've made a Notes-server dedicated box it was time to concentrate on one with enough grunt to take on the Notes client!

  • With this kind of computing power available, perhaps project MouseIsHouse can be completed. This project, started 30 years ago, has the potential to revolutionize housing, while literally ending world hunger. Essentially, the idea is to, through genetic engineering, create a mouse who can function as a house. The mouse would be roughly a 300 foot diameter sphere, with a large central cavity, kept clean and dry through a biological moisture evacuation system. We could breed houses, much like we breed cows today. Once grown, the MouseIsHouse will be sulf sustaining, living off photosynthesis and liquid nitrogen. The trick is merging the sequoia tree DNA with the mouse DNA. Doing this requires more processing power than researches have had access to. A 512 node beowulf cluster is perhaps one step closer to free, clean housing and food. On the ceiling of the living chambers grow an edible sludge. While not supremely delicious, it is nutritious, and due to cheapness can wipe out hunger in third world countries. I know this sounds too good to be true, but as anyone involved in the field of animalHousing is well aware of the importance of our work.
  • i'm not a beowulf geek, but 256 nodes seems like a lot of boxes to be running all those scheduling and message passing protocols between. I am curious what they are using to switch that much traffic, and if the GigE is going to be enough to handle all of the traffic between nodes.

    I couldn't find any info on the network hardware, however. Sigh.

  • I forget whether Chiba city is a Gibson or Stephenson thing, but when I was growing up, Chiba (cheeba ?) meant weed (yeah, that weed). I would love to see a chiba city ;>)
  • can be found here: docs/betagrid/EvardEL99/index.htm
  • by Dacta ( 24628 ) on Monday November 15, 1999 @04:40PM (#1530496)

    It appears this cluster is for development of open-source software. That is amazing - I doubt there are many computers in the world that are more powerful than this and used for software development.

    Almost all the super-clusters like this one are used for energy research, weather forcasting, and other scientific research (and of course "classified purposes").

    I guess they will be developing super powerful scientific anaylasis applications, but I do wonder what exactly. I mean, isn't half the problem with this type of application developing the algorithms for weather forecasting (or whatever) in the first place?

    I suppose they can develop some kind of supercomputer infrastrucure that would be useful in all type of supercomputer applications. (PVM?)

    A highly scalable image rendering package would be pretty cool, too.

    --Donate food by clicking: []

  • yes yes it is.

    "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel"

    Chiba City is also called "The Sprawl"

    William Gibson rules

  • The l ink [] in the above comment is actually a presentation about the cluster. Here's the juicy bits:

    - The primary purpose is to be a scalability testbed
    - They expect the cluster to eventually grow to 1000+ nodes (they have a timeline [] that indicates that they should be getting ready to install the next 768 nodes RSN)
    - They mention some sample applications []
    - There's a 16' x 8' Active Mural []
    - It will be open to open source development groups and 'people who ask nicely'
    - They mention some of the unique management issues here [] and here []
    - The cluster is organized as "towns" []
    - The cluster is actually comprised of 3 12 systems [] in it's current config.
    - Here's the system configurations [] and network topology []
  • This is a GREAT idea. Now us poor hackers in the bay area can afford to live here without having to shell out ungodly rent rates for little closets full of mice. Now the tables are turned and the mice ARE the closets! Seriously, this gives the terms "mobile home" a whole new set of meanings. One question though? What if ferrets turned out to be more viable large family dwellings? Do you think the state of California would lift the restriction on them if they were to be used as dwelling space only?
  • by Q*bert ( 2134 ) on Monday November 15, 1999 @05:21PM (#1530504)
    This usage is immortalized in certain Beasie Boys lyrics:
    • I'm a writer, a poet, a genius, I know it. I don't buy cheeba; I grow it.
    • Yeah I smoke cheeba; it helps with the brain. I might be a little udsted, but I'm not insane.

    It will be interesting to see how the DOE's attempt to power Washington D.C. with cheeba turns out. Clinton is sure to oppose it, even though we know he used to fill up on chiba fuel (but didn't actually burn it).

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • by pb ( 1020 )
    :) And at this rate, we'll have The Matrix (no, no, the one in Neuromancer!) soon enough. It'll be a little crystal with a penguin etched on it, with a Transmeta processor. After all, it's small, portable, and contains all the data in the world...

    And to answer another thread up top: "It's not like I'm using." ... "It's like my body's developed this massive drug deficiency." ;)
    pb Reply rather than vaguely moderate me.
  • this is great news. its good to see IBM leading in open source enterprise computing. they know what we have known for a long commercial unix/os can match linux in reliability, scalability, or innovation.

    the facts are there, solaris/sun hardware cannot even compare to intel/linux scalability and SMP efficiency. it's also why 80% of major corporations are abandoning solaris for linux. linux just plain outscales and outperforms.

    the sgi/cray stuff is downright pathetic. we've seen quad xeon linux machines completely run circles around SGI origin 2000 systems in production. also, beowoulf makes cray look like an apple II. sgi is dead, and finally no one has to rely on their overpriced, underperforming hardware...(and unscalable, non enterprise ready IRIX os).

    Linux is here to rule the world, and now IBM stands behind it. IBM only picks winners, you do the math.

    LiNuX MaN
  • by phil reed ( 626 ) on Monday November 15, 1999 @05:47PM (#1530508) Homepage
    Jeez, I wonder what a Beowolf cluster of these things would be like.

    Uh, wait... oops.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    And it is not a city from the Neuromancer, any more than airplanes are from the same book. Yes, Chiba City appears in the book, but it is a real city with millions of people living there. It is about half an hour outside of Tokyo, and the real name is Chiba-shi, where shi (pronounced like she) is Japanese for city.

  • Let's support these companies if we can...
  • OS/2????
    Micro Channel????


  • Yes, install OS2 on a VA box right away!
  • GigE should be enough IBM's RS/6000 SP2's used 10Mb for quite a while.
  • More details here []

    This looks wonderfull... Send a note of support to [mailto] or the lead guy on the IBM side, [mailto]...

    These guys are not only doing stuff that is fun to look at, they are willing to let people work on their own projects within their project... Drop them a note...

  • Actually MCA kicked ass performance wise, but the stupid suits at IBM wanted too much money to liscence the tech.
  • You know, I've read this guys user page, I've wandered through some of his previous comments, I have contemplated the nature of his existance, and it just plain don't make sense.

    What sort of crazy electro-neural burst makes people suddenly have the urge to type this stuff? I mean, its funny, yeah, its quite witty, but when you boil away the outer shell, it comes down to being downright insane. Crazy, loony, nuts, crackers, bonkers, stark raving mad.

    It MAKES NO SENSE. MouseIsHouse project!? Disgusting but highly nutritious MOUSE SHIT? Where does this COME FROM? I believe that this guy may, in essensce, be some kind of proof that determinism is false. There is no possible sequence of events, no matter how strange or contrived, that could have generated a neural map so convoluted that all those ideas would occur simultaneously, or even over a reasonably short period of time.

    I'm going to break down and cry now.
  • For some reason all of this reminds me of a Borg cube --- thousands of nodes, some controlling others, all networked, etc etc.
    I guess it would kind of suck to be a computational node -- doing integrals in your head 24/7 for weeks at a time sounds kind of painful... Just like preparing for a math exam.
  • If you can buy processor time on it, I think it'd be neat to just buy enough to get you to the top of the seti@home contributor list, and then bask in the glory of a first post.
  • Hey, maybe we talk Mindcraft into running their
    NT vs. Linux benchmark on the Argonne cluster.
    And don't forget to include "total cost of
    ownership". :~)
  • You wouldn't believe how much laughing your post has caused me. I read your comment in the middle of a large computer lab full of people, and i laughed so hard i cried. I am increasing observing reactions such as yours to my ideas. Are you yourself joking? Or are you merely completely unable to take a joke? More and more i believe that the world is throughoughly insane. Duplication is theft, exploitation is noble, private individuals are incapable of doing bad things, only the government can do that, freedom is slavery, slavery is freedom, these things and more are accepted by the vast majority, yet make absolutely no sense . The MouseIsHouse was not supposed to make sense, it is a joke, pure and simple. I'm not sure which of my other comments you looked at, but most of those were quit serious, and the fact that they disagree with the traditional view is simply proof that the traditional view is fully irrational. I have been called 'the most extreme person i have ever met', 'brain fried', and now 'stark raving mad'. These comments only go to prove that my views are correct.
  • Gibson from Neuromancer.


    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
  • What the hell does that have to do with
    Chiba City ?
    Just curious ,
    Your Squire
  • If you can buy processor time on it, I think it'd be neat to just buy enough to get you to the top of the seti@home contributor list

    That would be an inefficient use of processing power. About 20% of the CPUs are not computing nodes. seti@home clients don't need mayors, storage- or visualisation cities. You'd be better of with 1296 ordinary PCs, then only use 1024 of them in the cluster, and the other 272 for management.

    Oh, and you still wouldn't beat those admins that have twice the number of workstations running seti@home.

    -- Abigail

  • solaris/sun hardware cannot even compare to intel/linux scalability and SMP efficiency.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Go away and don't come back until you've got a clue. When was the last time you saw Linux running on a 64 CPU SMP system? Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Linux fan and have been running it for nearly 8 years now (I've even had it running on Sun Enterprise servers), but it doesn't yet scale as well as Solaris.

    it's also why 80% of major corporations are abandoning solaris for linux.

    Really? And just where did you pluck this figure from? In my experience, a few major corporations are replacing Solaris with Linux for DNS, email, and maybe web serving, and they're doing it for price/perfomance reasons, not for SMP scalability. None are doing it at the high end.

  • They are not all going to be on one ethernet ring! Something like 16x (16 machine subnets) sounds possible.
  • Am I the only person that'd love to see some photo's?
  • I vote for the Mayor of Townsville. :)

    (The Townsville cluster will be using experimental Powerpuff networking, which includes protection from crackers using the Mojo suite.)

  • The is the "admin" network. It connects the control workstation to the nodes. The SP uses the SP Switch for intra-node communication. It can pass data around at speeds faster Gigabit Ethernet.
  • Then there's Cheeba Cheeba [] by Tone Loc. While searching for a URL for that, I found the home page of the Cheeba Brigade [] -- kind of like a cross between the McKenzie brothers and Cheech and Chong...

  • Yes, Gibson actually called it Chiba City in Neuromancer. He was refering to a city in Japan.

    Funny thing about it in Neuromancer it is one of the highest tech places in the world. Right now it is one of the more rural cities in Japan. I know people who build a log cabin there.
  • No mention of beowulf in the release, but what else would you use?

  • I wonder if this will make it to the Top 500 supercomputers []. And, if it does, where would it rank. Would it beat Intel's ASCI Red (#1)?
  • Go Dan and JP and Remy and everybody else doing stuff with Chiba!

  • Actually, they're replacing x86/solaris with NT... looks like easier to administer than a unix box :-(

    Nothing mentioned about security, stability, scalability... people seem just not to care.

    And when you are a linux fan, that can hurt a lot...


  • Wasn't the sprawl the Boston-Atlanta Metro in the US? Or was that in the later books?
  • This is a test of my new sig

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • Testing again...

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • What's a Kangol? Is that that fly hairdo that Vanilla Ice had?


    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

Put no trust in cryptic comments.