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Linux Heavyweight Comes to Pacific Northwest National Lab

NEW YORK, June 25 - It may not be much more than a pipsqueak right now, but the computer system now being set up at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is expected to grow into the world heavyweight of Linux supermachines. 


Manufacturer Hewlett-Packard has now delivered an early prototype of the supercomputer, a one-quarter teraflop system that will be upgraded to a 1 teraflop version by the end of the summer. PNNL staff are now working to adapt its computational chemistry code and other software to this system.


The final version, which could be useful in protein-interaction studies, will include 1,400 next-generation Intel Itanium processors with an expected peak performance of 9.1 teraflops. It will cost $24.5 million and exceed by more than 30 times the speed of PNNL's old supercomputer, which was state of the art when it was installed in 1997.


According to HP, the system, scheduled to begin delivery in the fall and go fully on-line next spring, will be the world's most powerful Linux-based system.


The machine will be housed in the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a scientific user facility at PNNL. Initially, it will be used primarily for chemistry applications, but other institute researchers, including proteomics scientists and other genomic researchers that need major computer brawn, can access it through a competitive application process.

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