UWMLSC > Beowulf Systems > Medusa

Welcome to the MEDUSA web site

Medusa is a large beowulf-class parallel computer, built and operated by the LSC group at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (UWM). It became operational in August 2001 and is being used to develop and prototype data analysis for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). Medusa is used by members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and also serves as a resource for the GriPhyN collaboration.

This web site contains documentation for LSC members about how to use MEDUSA, and how MEDUSA works. On the left-hand side of this page are a set of links which you can follow to get additional information about MEDUSA. There is also a search tool which you can use to find relevant web pages.

A few facts about MEDUSA

  • MEDUSA is a 300-node linux beowulf cluster with a mixture of 100 Mb/s and Gb/s ethernet.
  • MEDUSA was funded on September 1, 2000 by a Major Research Infrastructure grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and by matching funds from UWM.  It's anticipated lifetime is three years or more.
  • The total cost is $593,323.  This is funded as follows: $415,326 (NSF) + $177,997 (UWM).
  • The construction schedule was
    • September 2000-January 2001: Benchmarking & Testing.
    • February 2001: Final design and design review.
    • Spring 2001: Purchasing and construction.
    • July/August 2001: Commissioning.
  • MEDUSA highlights:
    • 300 nodes, each having 1 Gflop peak performance. Each node has a 1GHz Intel Pentium III "Coppermine" processor.
    • 24 Terabytes of inexpensive (ATA-100) distributed disk. Each node has an 80 Gbyte disk drive
    • 512 Mbytes of PC-133 RAM per node, or a total of 150 Gbytes of RAM.
    • The system is networked with a fully-meshed Foundry Networks FastIron III backplane switch, with a combination of 100 Mb/s and Gb/s ethernet.
    • All nodes & networking are connected to uninterruptible power supplies that cleanly shut down the system if power is absent for more than about five minutes.

Photo of cluster    Photo of cluster

These pictures show two views of MEDUSA. In the first picture, the back shelf contains 120 nodes, the middle shelf 80 nodes, and the closest shelf 96 nodes. The second pictures shows the shelf with 120 nodes. The networking switch can be seen at the back of the middle shelf, with cable trays leading to it. The large white boxes on top of the shelves are 2.2 KVA Uninteruptible Power Supplies (UPSes). Additional pictures can be found in the Photo Gallery (to the left).

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