Friday, March 20, 2009

FASTRA - A Faster Cheap and Compact Cluster

In my article 24-Core Linux Cluster in a $29.99 Case from IKEA, I showed how you can build your own cluster (pictured at left) that is small enough to fit under your desk. It's turned out to be a nice space heater in the winter too, keeping my toes warm while it crunches numbers. It's come to my attention that someone in Belgium has created a 128-core cluster called FASTRA computer for under $5000 using 4 GPUs. Graphical Processing Units are normally used to render 3D video games, but in this case, they are using the cluster to speed up their 3D tomography calculations. Check it out below. Too bad they didn't use a Helmer cabinet...

By the way, IBM has the world's fastest computing cluster called Roadrunner using a similar design but much much bigger. It has 130,464 cores and uses 2.35 MW of power.


3 comments:

noirs said...

Awesome blog.

seyiox said...

really kool! Am impressed. But how do these application work with regular apps in need of huge compute power i.e. 3DS.

Tim Molter said...

seyiox, I doubt they would work with regular apps such as 3ds, because regular apps are normally designed to run on single computers. The parallel processing achieved by these specialized clusters requires custom software written specially for the cluster itself.