Pentagon Taps Linux Supercomputer

Linux Networx to build cluster for weapons research

Linux Networx Inc. is building a high-performance, 2,132-CPU Linux cluster supercomputer for the U.S. Department of Defense as part of an IT modernization program being undertaken by the agency.

In an announcement last week, Bluffdale, Utah-based Linux Networx said the Evolocity II cluster will be used by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Major Shared Resource Center as part of the DOD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program. The supercomputer will be used to increase the research capabilities of the lab, said Charles Nietubicz, acting deputy director of the computational and information sciences directorate at the Army Research Laboratory.

The system, being built at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Md., will be used for weapons research, including calculating projectional dynamics for weapons systems, simulating battlefield weather and forecasting battle survivability, he said. It will also be used by the lab to help develop advanced technology for the U.S. military.

The lab looked at several supercomputer vendors that bid for the contract and selected Linux Networx after reviewing many performance criteria, Nietubicz said. "The Linux Networx system gave us the best choice for what we wanted to do," he said.

The system, scheduled to be completed by the middle of the year, will consist of 1,066 nodes, each equipped with two Intel Xeon 3.6-GHz processors and 1GB of memory per CPU. The system will use Intel's 64-bit extension technologies.

Linux Networx is also scheduled to deliver five other cluster systems to other Defense Department agencies later this year under the modernization program. The cost of the systems isn't being disclosed.

"Linux Networx has proven [that] cluster technology is reliable, robust and mature enough to be selected even in the most demanding environment," said Thomas Kendall, lead systems engineer at the Army Research Lab. "This system will be a key component of the [lab] and the entire DOD modernization program."

As part of the technology update program, Linux Networx last year delivered to the lab a 256-processor cluster named Powell.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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