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Virginia Tech's HokieSpeed supercomputer to rely on CPU and GPU synergies

Darren Murph
08.07.10
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Virginia Tech's no stranger to housing supercomputers -- those folks strung together 324 Mac Pros back in 2008 just for kicks, giggles and "research" -- but their latest computing monolith is quite the shift from the ordinary. A cool $2 million is floating over to Blacksburg in order to create HokieSpeed, a "versatile new supercomputing instrument" that'll soon be primed and ready to handle not just one or two tasks, but a variety of disciplines. Wu Feng, associate professor of computer science at the university, calls this magnificent monster a "new heterogeneous supercomputing instrument based on a combination of central processing units (CPUs) and graphical processing units (GPUs)," with expected performance to be orders of magnitude higher than their previous claim to fame, System X. One of its first assignments? To give end users the ability "to perform in-situ visualization for rapid visual information synthesis and analysis," and during the late hours, hosts a campus-wide Quake deathmatch. Just kidding on that last bit... maybe.

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