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Developer's Release of Linux Cluster Software to Debut at Linux World

ORNL, NCSA team with six industry leaders to create
'supercomputer on a CD'

OAK RIDGE TN/CHAMPAIGN IL, January 25, 2001--Software that will make configuring and maintaining a Linux cluster like installing commercial software from a CD will be demonstrated by Intel at next week's Linux World Conference in New York. In addition, IBM will discuss this software, called Open Source Cluster Applications Resources (OSCAR) in a presentation at IBM's Linux World booth.

OSCAR is ready for distribution to experienced cluster computing professionals as a developer's release. A full release of OSCAR for the wider cluster computing community will be ready in the near future.

OSCAR is being developed by the Open Cluster Group ( , a collaboration among major research centers and technology companies led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), IBM and Intel. Other collaborators in the Open Cluster Group are Dell, SGI, MSC.Software, and Veridian. Members of NCSA's cluster development team will assist with the demo at Linux World. Dell will provide the equipment for the demo.

"This software is a big step in the process of making clusters a simpler, more accessible computing technology for the user community," said Rob Pennington, director of computing and communications at NCSA and head of the center's cluster development efforts. "When our first public version of OSCAR is released in a few weeks, it will make it possible to build clusters quickly and easily using commodity hardware."

OSCAR is being developed as a complete Linux cluster infrastructure that allows users to set up a parallel Linux supercomputing cluster in a matter of hours. The tools included in OSCAR are all community accepted, tested, and configured to work together. Without OSCAR, each of these tools would need to be installed, tested, and configured separately--a process that can take days. Included in the package are Portable Batch System (PBS), which queues computing jobs for running on a cluster, Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM), which allows parallel applications to run on clusters, MPICH, a tool that allows Message Passing Interface (MPI) codes to run on many high-end computing systems, and Cluster Command and Control (C3), a suite of tools to simplify the use and administration of clusters.

"Commodity cluster computing is no longer just for technical experts; the simplicity of OSCAR opens the doors to the general public," said Al Geist, head of the heterogeneous distributed computing group at ORNL. "Participation by IBM, Intel, and other vendors in the OSCAR cluster software effort plays a key role in public acceptance."

The developer's version of OSCAR supports Linux clusters using Intel IA-32 processors. The subsequent full release of OSCAR will also support the IA-32 processor with support for Intel's new Itanium (tm) processor to follow in summer 2001.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a Department of Energy multiprogram facility operated by UT-Battelle. Funding for ORNL is provided by the Mathematical, Information, and Computational Sciences (MICS) Division of the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (OASCR) of the US Department of Energy (DOE). For more information, see

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is the leading-edge site for the National Computational Science Alliance. NCSA is a leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge high-performance computing, networking, and information technologies. The National Science Foundation, the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, industrial partners, and other federal agencies fund NCSA. For more information visit

The National Computational Science Alliance is a partnership to prototype an advanced computational infrastructure for the 21st century and includes more than 50 academic, government and industry research partners from across the United States. The Alliance is one of two partnerships funded by the National Science Foundation's Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) program, and receives cost-sharing at partner institutions. NSF also supports the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center. For more information see

Ron Walli
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Karen Green
National Center for Supercomputing Applications