Alphawest, Sun sponsor Monash grid effort

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Reseller Alphawest and vendor partner Sun Microsystems have given Australia’s largest university a $150,000 SunFire grid computing package as part of a grid computing promotion.

Reseller Alphawest and vendor partner Sun Microsystems have given Australia’s largest university a $150,000 SunFire grid computing package as part of a grid computing promotion.

Alphawest and Sun said in a statement that Melbourne’s Monash University, which claims 50,000 enrolled students across eight campuses, was the best applicant received in their jointly-sponsored SunFire Grid Grant Program 2004.

Monash would get an $150,000 SunFire grid computing package, comprising a SunFire V20z compute grid rack system based on ten dual processor SunFire V20z AMD Opteron servers.

Mark Towers, national manager for education at Alphawest, said many quality nominations had been received from education and research institutions nationwide.

“Monash University has identified a variety of projects where grid computing will maximise the value of its research,” Towers said.

Professor Ron Weber, dean of Monash’s IT faculty, said the grant could help develop technologies in areas such as aged care and water or resource conservation.

“Embedded networks of cubic millimetre-sized computers and limited radio-frequency devices, such as single-chip motes or reprogrammable RFIDs, could make possible an irrigation system that released water according to plant needs and soil moisture conditions,” Weber said.

The grant was expected to help Monash University extend the frontiers of knowledge in the research areas identified as having national priority set by the Australian Research Council, Sun and Alphawest said in the statement.

Dr Asad Khan at Monash’s IT faculty would help the university’s own research projects simulating entire networks comprising millions of devices within the memory of one computer, the companies said.

The SunFire system would also be used by Professor David Abramson’s work to further develop a Nimrod/Gtoolset used to support grid computing research locally and internationally, the companies said.

Monash was upgrading the grid to a full 64 CPU configuration straight away, to provide “ample capacity” for research, the companies said.
 
Alphawest resells for Sun in the education space. Sun Microsystems was a founding member of the Enterprise Grid Alliance (EGA), a consortium created to improve grid computing tools and standards and accelerate the deployment of enterprise grid computing.

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