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Supercomputing IBM

IBM Open Sources Supercomputer Code 77

eldavojohn writes "IBM has announced at the LinuxWorld conference that they are now hosting all their supercomputing stack software as open source from the University of Illinois. From the article: 'The software will initially support Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 and IBM Power6 processors. IBM is planning to add support for Power 575 supercomputing servers and IBM x86 platforms such as System x 3450 servers, BladeCenter servers and System x iDataPlex servers. The stack includes several distinct software tools that have been tested and integrated by IBM. These include the Extreme Cluster Administration Toolkit (xCAT), originally developed for large clusters based on Intel's commodity x86 architecture but now modified for clusters based on IBM's own Power architecture. xCAT is used in the National Nuclear Security Administration's Roadrunner Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico — a hybrid cluster currently ranked by the official Top 500 list as the world's most powerful supercomputer.' For several years, Linux has been a strong tool for supercomputing."
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IBM Open Sources Supercomputer Code

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  • Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:49PM (#24501745)

    Now I have something to run on that spare Power4 I have laying around in the basement.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Seriously, though: would the Power6 have been the successor to the chip family we call Apple's G5? (You know, if Apple had continued using PowerPC chips?) I'm researching this using Wikipedia but haven't yet discovered the answer...any Slashheads know?
      • Re:Sweet (Score:4, Informative)

        by pleappleappleap ( 1182301 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @04:17PM (#24502189) Homepage

        No. The PowerPC architecture is mostly a subset of POWER. The POWER processors have all of the instructions of PowerPC, plus more. And they're built a little more robustly, since they're designed for the enterprise server market.

      • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EvilRyry ( 1025309 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @04:17PM (#24502191) Journal

        Something power6 derived anyways. Apple always wanted their chips with the Alitvec instructions which weren't part of any of the other power series. They also didn't want to pay a whole lot for these custom chips which they order in relatively small quantity. Its little wonder IBM didn't rush to get them new CPUs, they're probably happy Apple is just leaving them alone.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          IBM's later chips have AltiVec, even though they have nothing to do with Apple anymore.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by davester666 ( 731373 )

          Really? Small quantities? IBM is really selling so many supercomputers that they need to produce more than a million of these Power chips every year?

          More likely, the requirements that Apple wanted/needed for it's PowerPC chips were different enough from where IBM wanted for the Power chip line, and IBM/Apple couldn't come to a financial agreement to produce the PowerPC chips that Apple needed [as in, the combination of cost per chip/capabilities of chip/when chip would be available that Apple wanted and w

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anpheus ( 908711 )

            If each supercomputer contains a hundred thousand CPUs, they only need to sell TEN supercomputers.

            If each mainframe contains a hundred CPUs, they only need to sell ten thousand mainframes.

            See, those are quantities that help make sense of this. A Blue Gene/P installation can use up to nearly 900,000 processors alone.

            So yes, IBM probably does ship more CPUs than Apple does. IBM doesn't just fabricate and sell Power chips either, so I'd say there's probably a pretty wide margin.

            • by tyrione ( 134248 )
              Keep thinking that when Apple surpasses 10 Million Intel packaged systems or greater by mid 2009, year over year.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Anpheus ( 908711 )

                There's an IBM chip in every one of the three major consoles, which have sold around 50 million units in 2 years.

                And that's a small part of their business. IBM sells a lot more chips, period, than probably anyone other than Intel or maybe there's an ARM manufacturer that does more business. But IBM also fabs ARM CPUs, so there you go.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I don't know about you, but I actually do have extra POWER hardware in my basement. And my living room. And my dining room.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ksd1337 ( 1029386 )
      I hear Vista runs decent on this hardware.
  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by thammoud ( 193905 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:50PM (#24501765)

    Just when there no longer any COBOL programmers around.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      COBOL for supercomputers? I don't think so. More FORTRAN. COBOL is used for business code. These machines are primarily used for modeling.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nerdfest ( 867930 )
        These machines are primarily used for modeling.

        You mean like on a runway across the top of the machines? You may have just thought of a way to re-ignite interest in supercomputing.
      • by ragefan ( 267937 )

        COBOL for supercomputers? I don't think so. More FORTRAN. COBOL is used for business code. These machines are primarily used for modeling.

        Yeah, I think of a single good reason to run business code on an International Business Machine! </sarcasm>

      • in the 70s and 80s COBOL compilers were available from Cray and CDC to run on their supercomputers.

  • We don't host xCAT (Score:4, Informative)

    by dlapine ( 131282 ) <lapine.illinois@edu> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:53PM (#24501815) Homepage

    Try here [sourceforge.net]instead. And yes, xCAT kicks butt if you want to run a linux cluster. More so, now that it's open source.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Uh, yes we do.


    • by dlapine ( 131282 )

      I sit corrected. IBM has allowed NCSA to host a special version of xCAT for RHEL 5.2 on PPC. You can find it in here [uiuc.edu].

  • by inKubus ( 199753 )

    So guess we won't have to imagine a beowulf cluster of this. Phew, meme crisis averted.

  • the real goal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xzvf ( 924443 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @04:17PM (#24502193)
    I work for IBM, but this is speculation. The vast majority of money generated and earned on large Linux clusters came from selling hardware and services. This can only help generating that business.
  • Just in time, I really needed a supercomputer. Let's play Global Thermonuclear War
  • by contrapunctus ( 907549 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @04:20PM (#24502235)
    They open source stuff and they patent ridiculous stuff. Am I supposed to like them or not?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If you don't want them to have to patent "ridiculous stuff" ensure that the business environment changes so that they don't need to.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        ensure that the business environment changes so that they don't need to

        Thanks, I'll get right on that. Wow.

        • I picked up on the sarcasm, but that really is our duty as customers and voters in this regard.

          • Sorry, but your comment was similar to:
            If you don't want people around the world to starve, ensure that they have enough food.

            This is not specific enough to be meaningful.

            • But that's exactly the point.
              Food actually hurts starving countries even more than it helps them.
              This is, because normally nature falls in a balanced state by itself.
              If you give them more food, they can raise more kids. Not a bad thing, except if afterwards you don't provide food for them too, and so on.
              Fact is: The land can't support more people, so if there are more born than there die, they will die too.
              This will happen to the whole world, as soon as it reaches the global limit.

              So the best thing you can

              • But see, I wasn't specific enough to say "give them food" I said "ensure that they have enough food" which could mean teaching or anything I want.

                My whole point was that making vague statements is meaningless. They don't mean anything. They could mean anything.

              • by warsql ( 878659 )
                Except that hunger is a political problem.
    • I tend to think they use open source software as a way to sneak high priced consultants in to sell high priced software and support, but I might be being paranoid.
  • Since /. was adding pictures, Farking them is only a natural extension of expression. Supercomputer Dialysis Machine [photobucket.com]
  • patents? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @04:30PM (#24502395)

    will it be offered in paper or plastic ?

  • maybe we could set up a super computer now in the state of California to fix their COBOL programs, to exhaustively iterate though all combinations, of COBOL statements, and eventually it will come up with a solution to their payroll problems. We could have it race with programming monkeys, or ninjas. Whoever loses gets to arm wrestle Arnold.
  • I mean, it has a SourceForge page [sourceforge.net] whose mailing list archives go back to 2001, fer cryin' out loud.

    Now some of the "OpenHPC" stuff appears to be new, but not all of it appears to originate from IBM. For instance, part of it appears to be a repackaging of the SLURM [llnl.gov] batch system from LLNL. The one thing that looks like a genuine contribution from IBM is the "Advance Toolchain" stuff, but even that appears to draw heavily from existing open source code bases like valgrind.

  • by shlompo ( 1338043 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:28PM (#24503229)
    I used to be in charge of administrating the lab cluster at the MOSIX project (http://www.mosix.org). The tools we used back then, where series of scripts, that performed all possible configurations you'll ever need... we called it CLIP (CLuster Installtion Package). My two years experience taught me two things:
    1. It's sometimes easier to script your way through, instead of adapting existing administration tools. You'll just have a peek first, of course...
    2. But when you must, you'll encounter a modification you'd want very quickly.
    So my advice would be only accept open source administration systems. As i'm sure others have reached the same conclusions i had, This is actually a win-win move by IBM, and i'm sure they'll get more users, and more income following.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:34PM (#24503301) Homepage Journal
    did in latest oscon. what do you see ? rock solid commitment compared to empty pr. you know which of them pertains to which company ...

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