[Beowulf] massive parallel processing application required

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Thu Feb 1 18:25:16 EST 2007


>> the internet bubble.  in those days, it was popular to claim that the 
>> network
>> was becoming truely ubiquitous and incomprehensibly fast.  for instance:
>
> In the long run, ubiquitous and fast IS going to be true (however, latency is

in the long run, everything is true ;)

> gross oversupply of fiber across the Atlantic.  Hence the availability of 
> cheap flat rate long distance (5c a minute anywhere, anytime).. the bulk of 
> the system is no longer capacity limited.

interesting - I assumed that long-distance became cheap not due to 
oversupply of fiber and bandwidth, but rather transition away from 
old-fashioned circuit switching (ie, towards digital compressed voice
over packets.)

I know that buying fiber/lambdas/bandwidth is still very much not 
what I'd call cheap, though I have no doubt it's much better/cheaper
than in the past.

>> I don't know about you, but in the 6 years since then, my home net 
>> connection has stayed the same speed, possibly a bit more expensive.
>
> Interestingly, they've just rolled out FiOS (fiber to the home) in my area, 
> which is a HUGE jump in potential bandwidth from the existing DSL or Cable 
> Modem delivery methods.  And, moderately competitive in price (5 Mbps is 
> $40/month, including the bundled ISP kinds of features).  What's fascinating 
> is the faster tiers.. you can get 15 Mbps down/2 up for $50/mo and 30 M 
> down/5 up for $180

seems strange to me - what kind of residential customer would pay 
for that kind of thing (and remain free of the RIAA/MPAA)?

some smart form of wireless seems like an obvious good solution for 
residential last-mile.  maybe that's a disruptive innovation that will
finally put the telco/cableco's out of their misery.

> Likewise, a small business with half a dozen or a dozen desktops and a couple 
> servers isn't going to see a huge benefit from faster networking, because 
> they're throttled by the server's disk speed, more than anything else.

if their servers disks are only 100bT speed, they're broken.  it may well
be that most SMB servers are that crappy, in spite of the fact that a 
recycled linux box and one disk will deliver 40 MB/s...

> So, you're looking at GigE making a difference in two areas:  replacing cable 
> TV (all those 20 Mbps HDTV streams)

how many 20Mb streams does a typical endpoint need?  either residential
or commercial?

> and in big companies.  But even in big 
> companies, GigE to the desktop doesn't necessarily buy you much, if you're 
> all competing for the same server resources.

wow, dim view of the competence of server admins, but you may be right...

regards, mark hahn.
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