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Transatlantic Computers Linked Via High-Speed Research Network

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PITTSBURGH--Last month researchers at the Supercomputing Center here and at the High Performance Computing Center at the University of Stuttgart linked supercomputers via a high-speed research network, marking the first time such a network has been used for transatlantic metacomputing. The high-speed network can move information up to 100 times faster than the Internet.

Intended as a prototype for international high-performance networking, the project linked Pittsburgh's 512-processor Cray T3E with a similar machine in Germany. The connection created a virtual system of 1,024 processors with a theoretical peak performance of 675 billion calculations a second.

Ralph Roskies and Michael Levine, coscientific directors of the Supercomputing Center, cited bioinformatics as one of the fields "that demands the expanded capability potentially available through metacomputing." They called the link "an important step toward proving the viability of this concept." Pittsburgh computational scientists Bruce Loftis and Raghurama Reddy collaborated with a Stuttgart group led by Michael Resch for about a year to develop and test software that allowed the T3E's to work together on the same problem.

"This project shows that we now have in place the networking capability to collaborate effectively with the European community, a long-awaited step," commented Wendy Huntoon, the Super computing Center's networking manager. The project will soon be expanded to include a third supercomputer, an Intel Paragon at the Sandia National Laboratory.

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