University of Southern California

Team Will Create Instant Macintosh Parallel Computer Oct. 19

October 12, 2001

The High Performance Computing and Communication Advisory Council's monthly seminar series continues at 1:30 p.m. October 19, when two faculty members from the department of Physics at UCLA will talk about and demonstrate "AppleSeed: Numerically-Intensive 'Plug-and-Play' Parallel Computing." The talk and all subsequent talks in the series will be available via video conferencing at ISI.

Viktor K. Decyk and Dean E. Dauger will create an instant parallel computing system using Apple computers and their connectivity. (see AppleSeed site link, box)

The presenters describe their work as follows:

"At UCLA's Plasma Physics Group, we are successful in building and using a numerically-intensive parallel computing cluster using Power Macintosh hardware and the Macintosh Operating System. We have achieved very good performance on parallel plasma particle-in-cell simulations.

"This solution makes the problem of building and operating a parallel computer significantly easier than using other technologies, allowing the user to focus on developing and running parallel code without expertise in the operating system.

"A subset of the MPI message-passing library, implemented in Fortran77 and C, enabled us to port code, without modification, from other parallel processors to the Macintosh cluster. For large problems where message packets are large and relatively few in number, performance of 50-150 MFlops/node is possible, depending on the problem.

"In addition, by achieving over 20 Gigaflops on 16 400-MHz G4s, our team has proven the computational potential of the underlying PowerPC hardware. The ongoing widespread deployment of OS X, a Unix-based Mac OS, will provide scientists and engineers access to the best tools of the Mac and Unix in one computing solution.

"In the midst of this development, clustering Macs is poised to become a growing technology, bringing parallel computing out of the realm of experts and into the mainstream."

The event will take place in the conference in the Jefferson Building on the USC University Park Campus, with a web video link to ISI. The HPPC Advisory Council seminars will be a monthly event, according to Kay Ferdinandsen of HPPC, and all will be relayed to ISI.

The series began Sept. 21, when USC Chief Technology Officer Pepin discussed the computational resources now available to support research and instruction at USC, and current plans to increase these resources.

He also reviewed national trends and how they impact USC. and provide an overview of the next generation networks available to the USC community, along with upcoming developments and opportunities in high-end networking.