IBM has demonstrated one of the highest profile supercomputers yet to run Windows as well as Linux - the Akka system, installed at the High Performance Computing Center North (HPC2N) in northern Sweden.
Akka is partly a result of a Microsoft strategy to make more of an impact on the high performance computing (HPC) field, where Linux runs about 85 percent of the systems and Windows is relegated to less than five percent, according to industry estimates.
IBM and the HPC2N said the system would be one of the most efficient in the world, and would rank as the most energy-efficient Windows cluster on the current Green500 list, partly due to the use of low-power Intel Xeon quad-core L5420 CPUs.
"The choice of low-power processors and the highly energy-efficient design of our new machine room shows our commitment to become a green data centre," said HPC2N director Bo Kagstrom, in a statement.
The system is built in a new machine room designed for high density computing clusters, and is relatively compact, comprising 12 racks and 48 BladeCenters with 14 blades in each BladeCenter, the centre said.
The system is built of a total of 672 nodes, each equipped with two CPUs and 16GB of RAM for a total of 5,376 cores and 10.7 TB of RAM.
Adding to the heterogeneity, a small part of the cluster will use IBM Power chips and Cell Broadband Engines. These chips will mainly be used for the development of new parallel algorithms, the centre said.
"This is the first supercomputer in Sweden with both Linux and Windows operating systems," Kagstrom stated. "It will be very exciting to see how new results can be achieved by combining and utilising these different hardware and operating systems."
Users will get access to Akka's Linux capabilities on 25 June, with Windows functions coming online in the autumn.
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