Apple Computer Inc. will announce on Monday the sale of 1566 dual processor 1U rack-mount 64-bit Xserve G5 servers to COLSA Corp., which will be used to build what is expected to be one of the fastest supercomputers in the world. The US$5.8 million cluster will be used to model the complex aero-thermodynamics of hypersonic flight for the U.S. Army.
“We did about a year and a half of research on a variety of processors before making our decision,” Dr Anthony DiRienzo, executive vice president at COLSA Corp., told MacCentral. “We did a best value competition and Apple won that competition. It was based on performance; the facility (power requirements, floor space etc.); cost; and an assessment of vendor stability. We solicited to six companies and they won.”
The supercomputer, named MACH 5, is expected to deliver peak performance capability of more than 25 TFlops/second. In comparison, the Virginia Tech supercomputer announced last year attained sustained performance of approximately 10 TFlops/second, according to Apple director of product management, server hardware, Alex Grossman.
With those numbers, the MACH 5 would rank second only to Japan’s $350 million Earth Simulator computer.
“We evaluated PC-based proposals from other vendors but none came close to delivering either the price, performance or manageability of the AppleXserve G5,” said DiRienzo.
The Xserve G5 supercluster system is expected to be online and working for the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) division of the US Army Research and Development Command by late Fall.
Shortly, DiRienzo said they would take delivery of 300 Xserves a day, set them up in the racks and the next day begin the process again until all of the Xserves are installed and working.