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Clusters vs Supercomputers

Despite cluster hype, users say supercomputers may be the better fit for some applications

GM’s obsession with time is hardly surprising. “Every month we shave off new car development, it’s [worth] almost $200 million,” explains Kalwani.

Kalwani says GM’s supercomputer system in North America contains more than 2,000 IBM Power 5 processors, as well as 40 terabytes of disk. Dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) links are used for networking, he adds. In addition to IBM, he says, GM also partners with Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) to support its design and testing efforts.

GM and the University of Stuttgart are not the only organizations that like the idea of supercomputers. The Oak Ridge National Lab itself, for example, has opted to deploy a beast of a supercomputer, citing shortcomings in cluster technology. (See Oak Ridge Plans Petaflop Supercomputer.)

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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