Swedes Deploy Dual-Boot 'Green' Supercomputer with IBM, Intel Chips

The High Performance Computing Center North (HPC2N), a Swedish consortium of universities and research centers based out of Umea University, is installing a supercomputer that combines IBM Cell Broadband Engines and Power processors with quad-core Intel Xeon processors running both Windows and Linux in a dual-boot configuration.

The system, called Akka, is capable of a sustained 46 trillion calculations per second with a peak performance of 54 teraflops (LINPACK) running a beta version of Windows HPC Server 2008. Using low-voltage processors and based on IBM BladeCenter technology, it generates about 266 megaflops per watt, making it "the most energy-efficient Windows cluster on the current Green500 list," according to IBM.

"This new system brings supercomputing to new users and new application areas," said Bo Kagstrom, a professor at Umea University and director of HPC2N, in a statement released today. "This is the first supercomputer in Sweden with both Linux and Windows operating systems. It will be very exciting to see how new results can be achieved by combining and utilizing these different hardware and operating systems. The choice of low-power processors and the highly energy-efficient design of our new machine room show our commitment to become a green data center."

Akka uses 672 IBM HS21XM Blades with Xeon quad-core processors, along with IBM Cell BE-blades and Power6-blades.

According to IBM, "Akka will serve as a powerful resource for the Swedish academic research community with a range of application areas including space science, material science, bioinformatics, theoretical physics and chemistry, engineering sciences, as well as basic research in parallel algorithms, library software and middleware for grid infrastructure."

Implementation is being handled by Gridcore, an IBM Business Partner.

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