Singapore: Linux competency center set up

Singapore-based Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and Singapore/MIT Alliance (SMA) have invested over S$1 million to set up a Linux clustering high performance computing competency center here.

SINGAPORE--Singapore-based Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and Singapore/MIT Alliance (SMA) have invested over S$1 million to set up a Linux clustering high performance computing competency center here.

Incorporated in August 1998, IHPC is a research and development institute founded by the National Science and Technology Board (NSTB). The SMA, formed two years ago, is a graduate engineering partnership between US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The Linux competency center, which is expected to be operational within the next two months, will provide a platform for programming coursework, training and testing Linux cluster technology.

"The center will encourage companies to use high performance computing for virtual product development to improve their competitiveness and help companies set up Linux clusters for engineering and product design," said IHPC director for planning & strategic development Cheok Beng Teck.

Linux clustering is a method of setting up a group of Linux servers using the distributed memory system (DMS). DMS combines independent memory systems (nodes) through a message-passing interconnect (switch), explained Cheok. This method is said to be a more scalable and user-driven configuration as the set up is not dependent on the vendor.

According to Cheok, the S$1 million investment includes hardware acquisition as well as implementation and manpower costs.

"We'll charge at a recovery cost...that is at our cost. We are a non-profit organization and we are here to serve the technology industry here," he added.

"If a local company ask for further discount, we'll try to give them as low (a price) as we can...but in the case of foreign firms, we'll charge them the market rate."

Technology providers for this center are IBM, which provided 100 units of IBM e-Server x330 running on Red Hat Linux; and Singapore-based eLinux Pte Ltd, which provided the integration and implementation services.

Separately, IHPC, IBM and French high-end design software maker Dassault Systems are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding to set up a Product Lifecycle Management Competency Center on July 10, said Cheok. No further information was provided.