The MUFASA Beowulf Cluster

The Scientific Computing group in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering has built a 162 processor high-performance Linux computing cluster The cluster is for research supported by CEMBA, an NSF-funded Center for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) in Computational Methods for Many-Body Applications. The cluster was completed and operational in early 2003.

The cluster consists of 81 dual processor compute nodes. Each compute node has two AMD Athlon MP2200+ processors (CPUs). Each CPU has a peak floating point performance of 3.639 Gflop/s (3.639 billion floating point operations per second). Thus, the machine has a theorectical peak performance of 589.5 Gflop/s. On the Linpack benchmark the machine acheived a performance of 323.9 Gflop/s on 162 processors (an efficiency of 55%). The compute nodes are connected by SCI network cards manufactured by Dolphin Internet Solutions, Inc. The cards are two-dimensional D335 PCI cards, and the compute nodes are connected as a 9 by 9 two-dimensional mesh with wrap-around. The network is extremely high-performance, with point-to-point latencies and bandwidth of 1.46 µs and 250Mbytes/s respectively. The computer is programmed using an implementation of MPI by Scali (ScaMPI) and C and Fortran programs. Each node is also has two fast ethernet ports which are channel bonded and used to connect to the server node.

Benchmark performance

The system was benchmarked on the HP-Linpack benchmark and acheived a performance of 323.9 Gflop/s which would rank the machine as the 195-th fastest supercomputer in the world on the current Top500 list (November 2002). This performance was obtained on 162 processors in the solution of an NxN dense linear system Ax = b for N = 93,960.


162 CPUs in 81 Dual processor nodes
        Each node consists of:
  • 1U APPRO rack chassis
  • 2 AMD Athlon MP2200+ Processors
  • 1 Tyan Tiger MPX Motherboard
  • 2 GB Memory (10 nodes)
  • 1 GB Memory (71 nodes)
  • 1 Western Digital 20GB Hard disk
  • 1 dual Fast ethernet NIC
  • 1 Wulfkit 2D SCI


  • Linux (kernel 2.4.18-24.7.xsmp)
  • Redhat 7.3
  • ScaMPI
  • gcc 3.2
  • PGI Compiler suite (hpf, F{77|90}, pgcc)

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