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U Pittsburgh Ups Research Capacity with Linux Cluster Named Frank

The University of Pittsburgh has expanded its high performance computing resources used by researchers across campus. The Pennsylvania institution's Center for Simulation and Modeling (SAM) has added a heterogeneous Linux cluster designed and built by Penguin Computing.

Penguin, a San Francisco-based firm, integrates components from multiple companies. In this installation, the cluster, named "Frank," has 40 nodes. Three quarters of those have two six-core Xeon "Westmere" processors from Intel with 48 GB of memory; the remaining nodes have four 12-core Opteron "Magny-Cours" processors from AMD with 128 GB of memory; four of the Westmere nodes also include Nvidia Fermi graphics processing units to speed up specific types of applications.

Most of the nodes are connected with quad data rate InfiniBand for data communications. The new cluster runs Penguin's Scyld ClusterWare and TaskMaster software, which is already being used to manage resources on other Penguin clusters at the university.

Administration for the newest cluster will be a joint effort between SAM and the university's IT division, Computing Services and Systems Development.

"When our research efforts called for a new cluster, there was no question that we would go to Penguin for support," said Kenneth Jordan, a professor in U Pittsburgh's School of Arts & Sciences. "We have purchased several computer clusters from Penguin and have been very pleased with their reliability. There is a major advantage in terms of maintaining the various clusters to use the same operating system and management and queue software on all systems."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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