[Beowulf] Setting up a new Beowulf cluster

Ellis Wilson xclski at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 11 10:50:33 EST 2008


Bruno Coutinho wrote:
>      > physics requires such resources.  It will
also be used heavily
>     for Monte
>      > Carlo Simulations and just about any other
form of computational
>      > physics.  The two named are definite projects
that are already on the

Well, as previously stated, RGB is definitely your
guide.  In fact in 
his book I remember mention of his utilization of
computer clusters for 
just that, Monte Carlo Simulations.

>      > Being new to the Beowulf world, I am just
mainly looking for some
>     advice
>      > as to what distro to use (I would never dream
of setting up a
>     cluster on
>      > windows) and if there were any little tricks
that weren't
>     mentioned in
>      > the setup how to guides.

A few pointers in the right direction which may be
helpful, me being 
relatively new to parallel computing also and at a
University in your 
scaling situation.  These basic sources are super
helpful and can be 
found on Google:

Robert G. Browns book: This in fact I stumbled upon
and is the reason 
why I got into the subject of Beowulfs and parallel
computing.  This 
will immerse you in a vat of the theory involved
(which is super 
important and far more impacting to the practical
aspects than in most 
fields) and gives a taste of the practical.

clustermonkey.net: This site also has some work by RGB
as well as many 
other extremely valuable members of the Beowulf/HPC
community which help 
you get going quickly.  RGB's articles on starting
your own compute 
cluster are rather practically and theoretically
balanced, using really 
neat sidebars to give you some "experiments" to carry
out.

This very list:  I've read a couple thousand emails
since I joined the 
list and only recently decided anything I had to say
was worthwhile. 
Sitting back and reading as those more experienced
debate (and Rant, if 
your lucky) has seriously improved my knowledge in
this area and 
provided exposure to the many tools you can utilize in
your work.

Also, and this is simply my (less than two years
experience) 
perspective, but IMHO I would use the variety of Linux
you are most 
comfortable with in the beginning using a very basic
desktop/windows 
manager (such as xfce or fluxbox).  This will allow
you to get up and 
running quickly without killing all your resources by
using KDE (or dare 
I say it, BERYL).  You said you will expand every
year, so you have some 
time beforehand to learn about the toolset you'd like
to use, which in 
the end will guide your final decision on most
efficient distribution 
anyhow.

Ellis




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