beowulf in space
joelja at darkwing.uoregon.edu
Mon Apr 14 13:47:55 EDT 2003
On Mon, 14 Apr 2003 chettri at gst.com wrote:
> Has anybody considered the theoretical aspects of placing beowulfs on a
> cluster of satellites? I understand that communication will be slower AND
Communication to satellites needs to be neither slow nor unreliable, it is
generally fairly high latency... It can be quite expensive.
There are clusters of computers in space. they generally aren't what you
would consider heavy computation platforms...
The biggest issues with with computer resources in space are:
mass - a large sattellite such as the hughes galaxy 4r bird is around
2500kg for everything that's half the mass of the ups that backs
up our racks. every gram you send up costs you.
power - solar power and long life cadmium batteries mean your whole
platform has to run on pretty thin resources. again using
something like galaxy 4r which is a very powerful satellite 8800
watts is what you get max to power everything... Thats with a 26
meter span of galium arsenide solar cells. most of the power is
going to communications equipement in the case of galaxy 4r r that
would be 24 c band at 40w each and 24 ku at 108w each
radiation hardening - without 50 miles of atmosphere overhead we're kinda
close to the sun and gamma ray bursts from other parts of the
galaxy are kinda hard on the equipment.
thermal management - air cooling doesn't work given no atomosphere... even
on something like the iss hot air doesn't rise in microgravity,
you have resort to fairly extreme measures to deal with the
thermal management issues. if you see the laptops on the shuttle they're mostly
pentium class thinkpads with some fairly serious mods. There's
mission specific equipment as well, but you won't find a rack of
dual xeons floating around due to thermal issues alone
(disregarding mass or power requirements).
expected service life - if you plan on go to the expense of putting it in
geostationary orbit you're probably planning on keeping it up
there for a minimum of 10-15 years, so it has to still work
after a decde in a hostile environment, and upgrades and
service calls aren't in the plan.
It's pretty easy to spend a billion dollars by the time everything is said
and done putting up a large satellite. you generally try to loft only
what's critical to the mission of the satellite.
> and it would restrict the set of problems that could be solved. I'm looking
> for papers/tech reps etc on the subject.
> Samir Chettro
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Joel Jaeggli Academic User Services joelja at darkwing.uoregon.edu
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