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Networking Supercomputing Linux

Ask Slashdot: Best Use For a New Supercomputing Cluster? 387

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the reclaim-heat-for-silicon-diner dept.
Supp0rtLinux writes "In about 2 weeks time I will be receiving everything necessary to build the largest x86_64-based supercomputer on the east coast of the U.S. (at least until someone takes the title away from us). It's spec'ed to start with 1200 dual-socket six-core servers. We primarily do life-science/health/biology related tasks on our existing (fairly small) HPC. We intend to continue this usage, but to also open it up for new uses (energy comes to mind). Additionally, we'd like to lease access to recoup some of our costs. So, what's the best Linux distro for something of this size and scale? Any that include a chargeback option/module? Additionally, due to cost contracts, we have to choose either InfiniBand or 10Gb Ethernet for the backend: which would Slashdot readers go with if they had to choose? Either way, all nodes will have four 1Gbps Ethernet ports. Finally, all nodes include only a basic onboard GPU. We intend to put powerful GPUs into the PCI-e slot and open up the new HPC for GPU related crunching. Any suggestions on the most powerful Linux friendly PCI-e GPU available?"
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Ask Slashdot: Best Use For a New Supercomputing Cluster?

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  • Re:So little detail (Score:3, Interesting)

    by webmistressrachel (903577) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @05:47PM (#37392160) Journal

    No it's not, some really ugly, nerdy guy out there has a big cock and nobody is interested in him - he can't just flop it out in public, so that might be a very real problem for him! Or maybe he does, and girls only want him for that?

    Back on topic, it's not like that at all because the computer is probably real, and if not, it's just another hypothetical "Ask Slashdot" for us to fantasize over. "What would you do if you had...". What's wrong with that? Just my 2 pence!

  • Totally believable. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @05:50PM (#37392180)

    I totally believe the submitter's question.

    Next up on Ask Slashdot:
    I just got permission to buy the biggest fleet of trucks on the east coast ... and I was wondering if anyone on Slashdot had any ideas what I should do with them.

    Followed by,
    The company I work for just purchased 10,000 acres of land on the east coast and I was wondering if anyone on Slashdot had any idea what we should do with it.

    Happens all the time!

  • by xzvf (924443) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @06:01PM (#37392286)
    I've seen government institutions have unallocated money at the end of some budget cycle, that was so micro-managed that it could only be spent on a certain type of widget. I can see a university get a late grant, that had to be spent in 30 days, could only be spent on technology, that can only come out of a pre-approved catalog, and some administrative type that just saw a Top 500 super-computer list with competing university names on it, bring up in a meeting that we should build a super computer, and some grad assistant saying how easy it would be. They found a room with a window in it and ordered a bunch of parts, and will walk prospective students and their parents by it saying "This is the largest super-computer on the east coast".
  • Re:Ummm two things (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @06:15PM (#37392404)

    You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. I was just part of a million-euro EU project consisting of a large partnership of universities and companies. Given the fact that none of them ever did anything, my professor gave up and defined the project on his own.
    I coded the entire project on little more than minimum wage while I was also attending classes. I managed a couple of helpers who did web design and documentation, and dealt with the rest of the partners on my own, even interacting with fancypants EU higher-ups at some point. I was also in charge of administrative work such as financial reports. I dealt with the university accounting department directly as well as their administrative staff. I booked flights and physically walked over to the traveling agency. I represented the project at every single conference where it was demo'ed. As part of its end goal of meeting an audience target of a few thousand people, I took the initiative of aggressively promoting the project and was met with huge success.
    The vast majority of the cash was spent on people who did absolutely nothing other than throwing one or two opinions in the 18 months the project lasted. Our university's share was used to buy new chairs and tables and repaint the walls etc.
    Life in academia is serious research. Very serious. Investing in "science" will solve the world's problems.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @06:47PM (#37392638) Journal

    Actually, it does.

    I remember taking possession of a spanking-new Thinking Machines cluster some <mumble> years ago.

    The principal investigator got it to do one particular calculation, and promised the excess would be put to good use.

    We spent our time trying to figure out what "good use" meant in that context.

    It hasn't got much easier.

    I say if you run out of numbers to crunch of your own, these days, just hook it up to some lucky grid-computing project and let it swamp the stats.

  • by Sgs-Cruz (526085) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @12:08AM (#37394638) Homepage Journal

    Are you at MIT and is your benefactor David Koch? Because in that case, we have some researchers up at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center that do simulation work that could definitely use access to a bigger cluster. As long as you can compile FORTRAN on it, the TRANSP runs and GYRO simulations that we do are already run on a (smaller) cluster. This falls under "energy research" and is way cool to boot.

    I'm not joking, if you are at MIT, please get in touch with Martin Greenwald (contact info on the PSFC staff page [mit.edu]).

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