[Beowulf] Not quite Walmart, or, living without ECC?

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Fri Nov 16 12:58:01 EST 2007


On Fri, 16 Nov 2007, Peter St. John wrote:

> Of course the additional expense keeps your question interesting for
> now. I would imagine that if something is done to cover **software**
> errors, which are aeternal :-), such as periodic checkpointing, then
> adding memcheck stuff as Tony suggests seems reasonable.
> But I just wanted to poke that ("nt goon") PoV; myself, I defer all
> issues involving miniscule billiard balls rushing along amazingly thin
> pipes, to the "electricians" (as if such a thing as "electricity"
> could exist in the Real World, how absurd).

Interesting words coming from a body that is, when all is said and done,
little more than a big ball of electricity riding around on a
infinitesimal skeleton of tiny massive balls of nuclear force, that are
subsquently being pushed onto a similar arrangement of electricty that
meta-encodes them, interacts with other electrical charges in wavelike
ways, are ultimately absorbed by still more electricity floating around
on its nuclear skeleton, and thereby transform themselves into extremely
peculiar standing waves that echo those words in the meta-structure of
electricity we fondly call "the brain".

What is this Mind of which you do not speak but which speaks You, but
Electricity, given a very transient and very lovely form?

    rgb

> Peter
>
> On Nov 15, 2007 6:55 PM, David Mathog <mathog at caltech.edu> wrote:
>> There are some pretty good deals in the low end of the mother board
>> and CPU ranges right now.  Not what you folks would buy, but something
>> I'd consider to replace the old Athlon MP's in our 2U cases, one of
>> which just blew up (or the Tyan motherboard, it hardly matters as I
>> don't have spares for either part).  It looks like one can buy
>> a dual core Athlon64, 1 Gb of memory, 1G Lan, and low end VGA on a
>> consumer motherboard for around $150.  Maybe less. With the recycled
>> case, fans, PS, and disks that would be an inexpensive way to more
>> than resuscitate the dead node(s).
>>
>> The one thing that I don't see cheap anywhere is ECC RAM and
>> motherboards that support it.
>>
>> Any of you running clusters without ECC?  Has the lack of error
>> correction been a problem?
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> David Mathog
>> mathog at caltech.edu
>> Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
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-- 
Robert G. Brown
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
Web: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb
Lulu Bookstore: http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=877977
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