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October 4, 1998

LOS ALAMOS BUILDS ITS OWN 140 NODE SUPERCOMPUTER

By CBR Staff Writer

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, who decided to build their own from commodity parts. The Avalon computer, only proposed at the end of February, was up and running by April, and cost just $152,000 in its first, 70 node version. It was assembled from 533MHz Alpha nodes (the same chip used in the Cray T3E), 3Com Corp Fast Ethernet switches and the Linux operating system from Red Hat Software Inc. It uses the freeware Mpich implementation of the MPI message passing libraries for running parallel applications. The system was upgraded to 140 processors and 36Gb of total memory on September 15. Linpack performance has been measured at 47.7Gflops.

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