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Debian GNU/Linux clusters at Max Planck
The [http://gw.aei.mpg.de/ Gravitational Wave Astrophysics Research Group] is a team of scientists working at the [http://www.aei.mpg.de/hannover-en/66-contemporaryIssues/home/index.html Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics] ([http://www.aei.mpg.de/english/contemporaryIssues/home/index.html Albert Einstein Institute]) in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannover Hannover], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany Germany], and trying to detect [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_wave gravitational waves] directly, first [http://www.einstein-online.info/en/ predicted] by Albert Einstein. They are working with the friends and coleagues within the [http://www.ligo.org/ LIGO] Scientific Community.
The massive computing effort is done at the ATLAS Debian GNU / Linux cluster which consists of 1342 compute nodes (Intel Xeon 3220 quad-cores 2,4 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB Hitachi HDD, IPMI remote management) along with 31 data servers (2x Intel Xeon E5345 2,33 GHz, 16 GB RAM, Areca 1261ML, 16x750 GB Hitachi HDD) plus 4 similar head nodes with 4 x 750 GB HDD. Those are all running Debian GNU / Linux 4.0 Etch with a few modifications like custom kernel and Condor queuing system. Additional storage are supplied by 13 Sun Fire X4500 running Solaris 10.
The system was built from off-the-shelf computers from a german mid-sized company, [http://www.pyramid.de/ Pyramid Computer GmbH].
One of the many specialties we have is the network from ?WovenSystems which is a hierarchical network fully non-blocking network. The EFX 1000 core switch features 144 10 Gb/s CX4 ports and connects currently to 32 TRX100 edge switches which feature 48 1 Gb/s ports and 4x10 Gb/s uplinks. Also our X4500 are directly connected to the core switch.
Some benchmark numbers: Theoretical peak is beyong 50 TFlop/s, measured speed in terms of top500.org linpack  is 32.8 TFlop/s. This would place us in spot #34 worldwide, #11 in Europe and #4 in Germany on the current list from November 2007.
Another special point: The system was relatively cheap, i.e. less than EUR 1.8m (~ $2.8m).
About the Debian Project
Debian GNU / Linux is [http://www.debian.org/ports/#nonlinux one] of the [http://www.debian.org/intro/free free libre] operating systems ([http://www.debian.org/ports/#released GNU/Linux], [http://www.debian.org/ports/hurd GNU/Hurd], [http://www.debian.org/ports/netbsd/ GNU/NetBSD], [http://www.debian.org/ports/kfreebsd-gnu/ GNU/kFreeBSD)], running 18733+ [http://qa.debian.org officially] maintained [http://packages.debian.org packages] on [http://www.debian.org/ports 15 hardware platforms], from [http://www.debian.org/ports/arm/ cell phones] and [http://www.linux-sh.org network devices] to [http://www.debian.org/ports/s390/ mainframes] and [http://wiki.debian.org/DebianBeowulf supercomputers], developed by more than [http://asdfasdf.debian.net/~tar/bugstats/?8 two thousand] volunteers from [http://www.debian.org/devel/developers.loc all over the world] who [http://www.debian.org/devel/ collaborate] via [http://www.us.debian.org/support the internet] on the [http://www.debian.org Debian Project].
Debian's dedication to [http://www.debian.org/intro/free Free Libre Open Source Software], its [http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution constitutional] non-profit nature, its [http://vote.debian.org/ open] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meritocracy meritocratic] development model, [http://www.debian.org/intro/organization organization] and social [http://www.techforce.com.br/index.php/news/linux_blog/scientific_study_about_debian_governance_and_organization governance] make it [http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/project-history/ a first] among free libre operating system distributions.
The Debian project's key strengths are [http://www.debian.org/devel/people its volunteer base], its dedication to the [http://www.debian.org/social_contract Debian Social Contract] and the [http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution Debian Constitution], and its [http://wiki.debian.org/WhyDebianForDevelopers commitment] to [http://bugs.debian.org/release-critical/ provide the best] operating systems [http://release.debian.org/ attainable], following a strict quality [http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy policy], working with an established [http://qa.debian.org/ QA Team] and helpful [http://www.debian.org/users/ users] reporting [http://bugs.debian.org bugs, suggestions], [http://lists.debian.org exchanging ideas], and [http://wiki.debian.org registering experiences].
You can [http://www.debian.org/intro/help help] Debian Project without [http://www.debian.org/devel/join joining] it and [http://wiki.debian.org/DebianForNonCoderContributors even not being a ][http://wiki.debian.org/DebianForNonCoderContributors programmer], or being a development and or service [http://www.debian.org/partners/ partner] company or institution at the [http://www.debian.org/partners/partners Debian Partner Program], or simply making various [http://www.debian.org/donations donations] to the Debian Project.
Debian Project news, press releases and press coverage can be found from the official Debian wiki [http://wiki.debian.org/News page]. PR contact at [http://lists.debian.org/debian-publicity debian-publicity list].