AMD Tapped for Gov. Linux Clusters

The U.S. Department of Energy Thursday said it is building two separate large-scale Linux clusters using more than 3,300 AMD Opteron processors.

Dubbed “Lightning” and “Orange,” the clusters will be installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in October to support the DOE’s computer projects in medical, environmental and national defense modeling and simulation.

Both clusters are being designed, built by Bluffdale, Utah-based LinuxNetworx using its ICE Box cluster management tool and will be powered by the AMD Opteron processor Model 244 and use the Arima HDAMA motherboard.

The “Lightning” cluster is expected to rank among the top supercomputers in the world. cluster will support the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program, or ASCI, which monitor’s the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile to make sure they work. Lightning is expected to include more than 2,800 AMD Opteron processors and is designed to run at a theoretical peak of 11.2 teraFLOPS.

“Our nation’s defense relies on the scientific expertise of Los Alamos National Laboratory just as the top engineering talent there relies on industry standards to meet its high-performance 64-bit computing needs,” AMD vice president and general manager Marty Seyer said in a statement. “The flexibility of being able to run our customers’ 32-bit and future 64-bit applications at a high performing level helps reduce the high disruption costs associated with proprietary server solutions, enabling us to bring large scale cluster deployments to a mass market.”

The “Orange” cluster will be part of Los Alamos’ Institutional Computing project that supports scientific, medical and environmental research such as the design of antibiotics and simulations of wildfires and water resources. Orange, a 256-node dual-processor cluster, is expected to be the first large-scale AMD Opteron processor-based cluster using InfiniBand technology from Mellanox. The Israeli-based firm said its contribution includes InfiniScale 96-port 10Gb/sec switches and InfiniHost dual port host channel adapters along with Evolocity servers.

“The Orange system will expand Los Alamos’ exploration of issues surrounding 64-bit open source operating systems and commodity processors in both computer and computational science,” said Andy White, who leads Los Alamos’ Institutional Computing project. “The InfiniBand interconnect offers the hope of a high-bandwidth, low-latency, commodity interconnect for high-end computing.”

Clustering is quickly becoming a popular configuration in the supercomputing marketplace. According to the latest list of the 500 most powerful supercomputers, a LinuxNetworx cluster running Intel Xeon chips at the Livermore National Laboratory is number three on the list. IBM and Hewlett-Packard also have clusters in the Top Ten.

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