A computer program that enables a collection of off-the-shelf desktop computers to rank among the world’s fastest supercomputers has been released to the public by Sandia.
The program, called Cplant system software, dramatically extends the capability of researchers to modularly assemble large blocks of off-the-shelf computer components.
The rationale behind this open-source release is to allow researchers free access to the body of research and development that created the most scalable, Linux-based, off-the-shelf computer available, says Neil Pundit, Manager of Scalable Computing Systems Dept 9223.
The hope, says Neil, is that modifications and enhancements made by researchers elsewhere will enrich the system software, and that these improvements will be communicated back to Sandia.
While other cluster software may run faster, none exceeds the Cplant system software’s ability to help off-the-shelf processors work together in large numbers.
Sandia’s Cplant hardware comprises the largest known sets of Linux clusters for parallel computing. These sets are made up of Compaq Alpha processors and Myrinet interconnects. The largest cluster within Cplant consists of more than 1,500 Alpha nodes.
Cplant system software is modeled after the system software that Sandia developed for the highly successful ASCI Red supercomputer built by Intel, installed at the Labs’ Albuquerque site in 1997, and for several years generally agreed to be the world’s fastest computer.
The software can be downloaded from the Cplant web site at www.cs.sandia.gov/cplant.
DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) funded this research under the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI). DOE/NNSA expects mutual benefit from this release for the high-performance
computing community and the DOE/NNSA
This first open source release of the Cplant system software is named Release 1.0 and totals about 43 MB. Requesters must agree to software licensing terms before downloading.