Open source for South African high-performance cluster

By   |  January 26, 2006

The Pretoria-based Meraka Institute is accepting proposals for what it calls a “modest high-performance computing (HPC) facility”, dubbed C4, for scientific research. Proposals due by the end of January should include “as much open source software as possible”, according to the Request for Proposals (RFP) document.

The C4 cluster will be used for bioinformatics, aerospace, material sciences, geosciences and “other large-scale modelling and simulation activities”. While this project doesn’t form part of Meraka’s Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) project, which is hosted in Cape Town, the RFP suggests that skills and experience in C4 will be leveraged in the CHPC roll-out. It also notes that C4 will be used as a “general purpose capacity computing infrastructure, with plans to extend this in the future, in line with the CHPC developments”.

While software has not yet been finalised, Meraka is particularly interested in the following:
Oscar (Open Source Cluster Application Resources), a snapshot of best practices for HPCs;
XCat, Indiana University’s implementation of Common Component Architecture;
– Maui Cluster Scheduler;
– Torque Resource Manager 2.0;
Sun N1 grid computing software.

Although an operating system has not yet been selected, Meraka is leaning towards Scientific Linux.

According to the specifications, the solution should contain at least 48 compute nodes, consisting of a mix of one- and two-way processor machines; Ethernet; at least 1TB of centralised storage; four or more workstation nodes; a firewall, Web server and FTP server; and master and management servers.


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