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Big Supercomputing Show To Showcase High Performance Computing

Supercomputer experts from all over the world will descend on Seattle beginning this weekend to learn the latest about high performance computing at Supercomputing 2005 (SC/05) The keynote will be delivered Tuesday by Microsoft Chairmen and chief Software Architect Bill Gates.

SC/05 attracts attendees primarily from universities and government research labs, but also from large IT enterprises. They come to hear the latest in research studies and to hear about the latest powerful products.

Microway, for instance, will unveil its FasTree InfiniBand Switch, which the firm claims is the fastest modular InfiniBand switch based on Mellanox DDR technology. “The thing that’s most important about this switch is that it’s modular and extensible,” said Ann Fried, chair of Microway. “As a user’s needs grow, the same switches can be used to turn a small, directly-connected cluster into a larger spine-leaf design, and the spine-leaf design can be easily expanded from 96 nodes to up to 76 modes simly by adding switches in the obvious regular pattern.”

Expected to find use primarily in cluster configurations, the FasTree switch will be demonstrated in an Opteron-based cluster with PathScale’s InfiniPath-HTX cards providing latencies as low as 1.3 microseconds. Fried said the switch, which utilizes also DDR technology, is the first offering for HPC users of an InfiniBand switch with DDR links. “InfiniBand is finally starting to take off,” she said, “and this is an example.”

Fried said a key advantage of the FasTree switch is that it finally makes InfiniBand technology affordable for many users. The switch is available for less than $7,000.

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