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06 August 2008, 16:57

IBM open sources a supercomputer stack

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IBM is celebrating its tenth open source birthday, having released the Jikes compiler for Java under the IBM Public License ten years ago. Among other announcements, IBM announced it was making available, as open source, the HPC Open Software Stack.

HPC, or High Performance Computing, is dominated by super-computing clusters, where large numbers of machines are combined by software and very fast networking to process complex problems in parallel. Managing a large number of machines working in a cluster brings a whole range of headaches for administrators of the systems, and IBM is hoping that their HPC Open Software Stack will help in this process.

Unless you have Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 running on IBM Power6 processors, don't expect the HPC stack to be immediately useful, as that is currently the only configuration the stack supports. IBM says it plans to add support for IBM x86 systems and their Power 575 super-computing servers in the future. The stack is available now on an FTP site at the University of Illinois' NCSA (National Center for Super-computing Applications).

Among the components of the stack is xCAT, the Extreme Cluster Administration Toolkit. This was originally developed for large clusters of commodity x86 hardware running Linux, by IBM, who open sourced it two years ago. The project released xCAT 2.0 in June and now IBM has modified it so it also supports clusters of their Power architecture systems. IBM has then added developer tool-chains, install scripts and resource management.


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