Supercomputer assembled like a kit

Aug. 21, 2008
Purdue University recently installed a new supercomputer made up of 812 Dell servers and capable of 60 trillion operations/sec.

This puts it in the Top 40 of the world’s supercomputers. The assembly was a bit different in that the university didn’t hire high-priced consultants to do the job. Instead, IT staff at Purdue, augmented by IT staff from nearby Indiana University, volunteered their time to put the computer together themselves.

“By using commodity servers to build our supercomputer, we didn’t have to fly in engineers or highly specialized technicians,” says Gerry McCartney. “We were able to do it with our own IT staff in about 4 hours.”

The assembly crew started at 7 a.m., and by 11, the computer was complete except for a few nodes that were internationally held back for a ceremonially completion at the dedication. By 1 p.m., the computer was already running 1,400 research jobs from across the campus.

IT staff at Purdue University assembled one of the world’s largest supercomputers.

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