Linux Cluster Makes Impact on Chryslers Bottom Line

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-10-21 Print this article Print

Linux cluster based on IBM workstations will perform impact analysis simulation at faster speeds and a lower cost.

DaimlerChrysler has found an innovative way to cut costs: It is using a Linux cluster based on IBM workstations to perform impact analysis simulation at faster speeds and a lower cost. An IBM spokesman told eWEEK that the Chrysler Group, a unit of DaimlerChrysler, is the first automotive company to take advantage of the price of a Linux-based workstation to obtain the power of a supercomputer at a cost of 40 percent less than other solutions available on the market. This new Linux cluster, which IBM and the Chrysler Group will detail on Monday, is based on 108 IBM IntelliStation M Pro 6850 workstations powered by dual Intel Xeon processors operating at 2.2GHz each with enhanced 512KB L2 cache.
Intels 2.2GHz Xeon processors and PRO/1000 server adapters are used for high-level performance and flexible connectivity, and the solution includes TotalStorage FAStT500 using Gigabit Ethernet.
Livermore Software Technology Corp modified its LS-DYNA software--to comply with Linux standards--to perform the crash test simulations, while Red Hat Inc. provided the Linux operating system. Vehicle and occupant impact simulation accounts for some 70 percent of the Chrysler engineering groups total computing capacity, so the need for new and innovative approaches that do not compromise design creativity is significant, said Bernard Robertson, senior vice president of engineering technologies and regulatory affairs for the Chrysler Group. The shift taking place in the price/performance curve on impact analysis technology "is empowering our engineers to develop future vehicles with better decision-making capability and at a rate that is faster than before. We expect to see a direct correlation to the quality and safety measurements of our vehicles, as well as improved productivity at less the cost," he said. In the early 90s, the Chrysler Group used one supercomputer, which cost tens of millions of dollars, to run tests in a virtual world. Then, between 1996 and 1999, it moved to a network, or cluster, of Unix-based computers for more efficient simulation computing, at a faster rate and cheaper cost, Robertson said. The Chrysler Group will continue to look at new ways of applying the latest Linux cluster technology to its simulation strategy for computer-aided engineering, he said.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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