[Beowulf] a "microwulf" posted

Kilian CAVALOTTI kilian at stanford.edu
Fri Aug 31 14:16:23 EDT 2007


On Friday 31 August 2007 09:37:49 am Peter St. John wrote:
> I saw at wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf_%28computing%29
> that someone posted a link to
> http://www.calvin.edu/~adams/research/microwulf/, a nice description
> of a "microwulf" at Calvin College. It has brief but useful
> descriptions of it's design, cost broken down by parts in the
> Manifest, and price/performance specs.
> If LLNL is an Epic maybe this is only a limmerick, but it's a witty
> limmerick.

It's also been posted on the INQ:
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=42050

It's very interesting from the design point of view, but I'm less 
convinced by the price tag argument. 

Stanford University recently purchased a 276 dual-socket quad-core HPC 
cluster, which is capable of 20.6TFlops (peak) and actually achieved 
15.5TFlops (it has been ranked #54 in the latest Top500 list). 

The cost per GFlops has been $109, which is indeed more expensive than 
the microwulf's $94/GFlops, but still far from being "five times as 
much", as claimed by the INQ article. Besides, the price included 
software (a commercial scheduler) and support, management capabilities, 
50TB high-performance storage, an administration GigE network and a DDR 
Infiniband interconnect.

I guess it's easier to lower the cost per GFlop on large scale clusters, 
but I'd just wanted to put this into perspective, and show that you 
don't necessarily need to build your cluster from scratch to get 
comparable price/performance ratios.

Cheers,
-- 
Kilian
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