Compaq Computer Corp is not one of the usual suspects to be seen around the halls of a Supercomputer trade show, but this week in San Jose, at Supercomputing 97, Compaq is showing off its new compute farm technology, which links multiple units of its Professional Workstation boxes together in a rack-mounted configuration. According to Compaq the configuration greatly accelerates moderately parallel applications, and maximizes throughput when running multiple jobs. Compaq’s aim with the demonstration is to show it can do better than what it calls traditional RISC/Unix-based high-performance computing servers. The units are linked, of course, by ServerNet technology from Compaq’s recent acquisition, Tandem Computers Inc. On show in San Jose was a 108 CPU rack of six-dual Pentium II Professional Workstation 6000s, and 24 quad Pentium Pro Professional Workstation 8000s, interconnected with Compaq Netelligent 100Mb Ethernet switches and Tandem ServerNet. It’s had help in setting up the system from Platform Computing Corp, and is using that company’s LSF Load Sharing Facility software. Microsoft Corp is researching the use of similar sounding configurations using commodity hardware under the codename Cyberbricks in a project headed by Gordon Bell – the father of the DEC VAX (CI No 2,951).
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