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The computer system employed by the Wireless Communications Program for the most computation-intensive research consists of twelve DEC Alpha processors operating at 667 MHz. In addition, twelve older DEC Alpha processors are part of the system. The processors employ the Tru64 operating system (a variant of Unix) and include DEC's Load Sharing Facility (LSF), DEC FORTRAN, and Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM). DEC LSF allows large jobs to be load balanced across the cluster of processors, while PVM provides an easy-to-use message passing facility for writing coarse-grain parallel programs that utilize all of the processors.
The processors are connected via a DEC Gigaswitch crossbar switch that allows transfers between any two processors at speeds up to 100 Mbits/sec. This allows sufficient communication throughput among the processors in the current configuration to support efficient parallel processing. The Gigaswitch also allows sufficient throughput to the campus network backbone for transfer of data to remote workstations for programming, visualization, and data analysis.
This facility is used for both sequential and parallel computational electromagnetics programs, simulation of wireless communication links and networks, parallel satellite data analysis programs, and experimental systems software which is designed to simplify the task of scientific and engineering programming on a distributed cluster of computers. Access to the facility is limited to the faculty and students of the Wireless Communication Program and two other faculty members and their students.
The Sun workstations and Alpha processors are complemented by a variety of Macintosh and Pentium-based personal computers that are housed in the ITT Laboratory and the Computational Electromagnetics Laboratory. These computers are equipped with FORTRAN software and also serve as additional terminals for the high-speed processors.
Center for Research in Wireless Communications, 301 Fluor Daniel Engineering
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