Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) announced on Monday a deal to build the Tasmanian Partnership for Advanced Computing (TPAC) at the University of Tasmania on the eponymous Australian island state. As part of the deal, SGI will build a new x64-Linux cluster codenamed Katabatic for climate research.
"Katabatic supports vital, nationally important research for projects requiring state-of-the-art HPC capabilities, including in ocean, atmosphere, Antarctic ice sheet and climate modeling, computational chemistry, and fluid dynamics," said Dr. Nathan Bindoff, University of Tasmania professor and partnership director, and Nobel Laureate.
The SGI Altix computer cluster offers 64 clustered blade servers with 512 processors, a terabyte of RAM, and up to 2 teraflops of peak compute power, or four times the performance of the legacy system it replaces, SGI said. As for hard drive space, Katabatic offers over 70TB, along with 524TB of mirrored tape storage.
Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI), the company responsible for helping create Terminator 2, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park, agreed to sell itself to Fremont-based Rackable Systems for $25 million. At one point, Silicon Graphics had been worth $3.66 billion in 1997, but has fallen on hard times, seeking bankruptcy protection two times in the past three years.
"It's kind of sad," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group in San Jose. "At one time, SGI was really though to be where much of the creativity was going to occur in Silicon Valley. They were the guys kind of on the forefront of virtual reality."
SGI's fall from prominence can be traced back to around 1999. The company had started laying off hundreds of employees, its newly hired CEO resigned shortly after taking the job, and many of its customers turned to less expensive computer systems made by SGI's competitors.
Assuming the bankruptcy judge approves the sale, it's unclear whether Rackable will retain the corporate name of SGI or what it plans to do with SGI's 1,169 employees.