The Gideon 300 Cluster is a high-performance cluster computer built by the Systems Research Group (SRG) of the Department of Computer Science at The University of Hong Kong. The construction of the cluster started in early-October and became fully operational in mid-October. The Gideon 300 Cluster is used to conduct research at HKU on new-class problems that are only solvable using a high degree of parallelism and supercomputing power.
What is a Cluster?
A cluster is a type of parallel or distributed processing system which consists of a collection of interconnected stand-alone computers working together as a single, integrated computing resource.

Clusters of today are an important element of mainstream computing. In less than a decade, the "lowly" computer clusters have come to prominence as the most convenient and cost-effective tool for solving complex computational problems. Being able to bring together enough computing cycles together in a pool is one thing, to be able to use these cycles efficiently so that the aggregate power of a cluster can be fully harnessed is another. Research and development effort must continue to explore better strategies to make clusters an even greater tool when facing up to the grandest challenges of this age.

- Dr. Francis Lau (Head of CS)
The Gideon 300 Cluster
The Gideon 300 Cluster consists of 300 Intel-based Legend PCs interconnected by a single, high-port density Fast-Ethernet switch. This guarantees a one-hop latency between each node with full connectivity. Each processing node is a standard PC which comprises an Intel Pentium 4 processor running at 2 GHz, a 512 Mbytes (PC2100) DDR SDRAM, and a 40GB IDE hard disk. This gives the whole cluster a peak floating point performance of 1.2 Tflops (trillion floating point operations per second). The cluster has been benchmarked according to an international standard - the High-Performance Linpack benchmark. This benchmark test is used by the TOP500 to rank the world's 500 fastest computers according to their benchmark performance. The Gideon 300 Cluster is ranked #175 on the TOP500 Supercomputers list for November 2002.
Cluster Configuration
Compute Node x 300
  • Pentium 4 2.0 GHz w/ 512 Kbytes L2 cache
  • 512 Mbytes (PC2100) DDR SDRAM
  • Fast-Ethernet adaptors x 2
  • 40 GB IDE hard disk
  • Linux OS (RedHat 7.3/8.0)

  • Network Components
  • High-performance network (for inter-process communication)
  • Foundry Networks' Fast-Ethernet switch with 312 ports
  • Hierarchical management network (for I/O access and cluster management)
  • 24-port Gigabit-Ethernet switch x 1
  • 24-port Fast-Ethernet switch (with Gigabit-Ethernet uplink) x 13
  • UTP network cables x 620

  • File Servers (for Network Booting and Data Storage)
  • Dell Poweredge 6300 4-way Xeon SMP x 4
  • Direct connections to the Gigabit-Ethernet switch

  • Cluster Aggregates
  • Theoretical computing power: 1.2 Tflop/s (How do we calculate this number?)
  • Linpack result: 355.5 Gflop/s
  • Total physical memory: >150 GB
  • Total data storage: >12 TB
  • Systems Research Group Department of Computer Science The University of Hong Kong