Massey eyes supercomputer grid

Massey University is assessing the interest of New Zealand organisations in establishing grid computing in this country.

Massey University is assessing the interest of New Zealand organisations in establishing grid computing in this country.

Grid computing is the linking of PCs, servers or clusters of servers via the internet to create a powerful but cost-effective means of processing huge amounts of data. It’s sometimes likened to the computer-networking equivalent of the electricity grid, offering processing power on demand.

Massey University’s Chris Messon, who heads the institution’s parallel computing research centre, says it would like to participate in such a way with other universities and research and development organisations.

Last year Massey built a Beowulf super-computer which Messon envisages would be linked via the grid to other Beowulfs and mainstream supercomputers.

A Beowulf is a high-performance computer assembled from clustered PC CPUs or nodes interconnected by a dedicated high-speed network.

“A grid would be available to researchers to use around the country,” says Messon.

“Over time we’re expecting small supercom-puters, either like or slightly different to Beowulf clusters, to join.”

Messon says the main factor holding the project back is the lack of a high-speed network around the country. The Next Generation Internet (NGI) consortium is trying to get such a 2.5Gbit/s network established.

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