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The news in this category has been selected by us because we thought it would be interestingto hard core cluster geeks. Of course, you don't have to be a cluster geek to read the news stories.

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SC06 nears, the BeoBash calls, be part of history.

At SC 1999 in Portland OR a small group rugged individualists gathered in a corner of the the Exposition hall. Passersby were sure they were designing the next cluster break though, but they were doing something far more important. Indeed, it was one of the most difficult decisions they had to make in recent years. Reputations were at stake. It could change the direction of everything.

Beowulf clusters were new and disruptive. There were few clusters on the show floor. A small band of pioneers knew what had to be done. They needed a party for cluster users. Not just any party, a party that made a statement. A party that said, we have arrived. Such is the way of Supercomputing. (click Read more... for details on this years party)

Back to the meeting. They had four sponsors that donated some cash for a party. (Paralogic, Etnus, SCA, Scyld Computing Corporation). The discussion taking place was whether to accept a contribution from Microsoft Research. A decision was made and a tradition begun.

Vendors It is not to late to become a sponsor. Get access to the movers and shakers. As a sponsor, promote your booth prior to SC06 on Cluster Monkey! Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Welcome Intel, Etnus, and Penguin/Scyld!

In case you missed it, Introduction to Beowulf Design, Planning, Building and Administering running again in November (7th-10th). As before the course is presented by the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) team at Georgetown University. The first session in September was success and the we can look forward to other trainings as well.

Quads are old news, 80 cores are what you really want

In addition to all the other hoopla at this weeks Intel Developers Forum (IDF) there was the announcement of Intel's Tera-scale Computing effort. Other than being on of the more over used HPC buzzwords, it does propose some interesting directions beyond, the current core race. As their white paper points out, you can't just keep slapping cores on the processor die. Interestingly, the 80 core processor design arranges cores in a grid and provides communication to four neighbors. Flashback to the Inmos Transputer.

All the cool hardware aside, the real issue is software. As soon as two or more cores/processors/servers etc get involved, there is a need to create parallel software. If you compared parallel software technology to today's hardware you would be looking a 80286 (maybe a 386 at best) processor. (And I'm not even going to get into scaling issues). A multi-core detente of sorts, as proposed by myself (see the October issue of Linux Magazine and Tom Yager at InfoWorld may be A Good Thing (tm) to consider.

The core wars, begun they have

This week at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) several vendors are showing the latest in multi-core fashion -- the quad-core Xeon. Dubbed the Clovertown, this quad-core beastie is mentioned as part of Intel's new Core™ Microarchitecture". In particular, Appro is demonstrating a 1U server with two quad-core Clovertown processors. That is a total of eight cores in a standard rack-mount enclosure. I happen to know that they also have two of these systems connected via a Mellanox infiniband HCA and they are running the NAS Parallel Benchmark Suite under Linux on all 16 cores. Rumor also has it that the monkey who set up the demo is running GKrellM on both nodes and 16 little windows show busy little cores. "What about numbers?, you ask. Stay tuned, real numbers for real cluster applications will be available in November at SC06

And, by the way, hypothetically speaking, if a certain Cluster Monkey happened to have these two nodes for a few more weeks, what would you like to see him run on it? (add your suggestion as a comment) That is, of course, hypothetically speaking.


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