Commodity supercomputing, was: Re: NDAs Re: [Beowulf]

Mark Kosmowski mark.kosmowski at gmail.com
Tue Jul 1 08:53:35 EDT 2008


And I forgot to change the subject.  Apologies.

On 7/1/08, Mark Kosmowski <mark.kosmowski at gmail.com> wrote:
> At some point there a cost-benefit analysis needs to be performed.  If
> my cluster at peak usage only uses 4 Gb RAM per CPU (I live in
> single-core land still and do not yet differentiate between CPU and
> core) and my nodes all have 16 Gb per CPU then I am wasting RAM
> resources and would be better off buying new machines and physically
> transferring the RAM to and from them or running more jobs each
> distributed across fewer CPUs.  Or saving on my electricity bill and
> powering down some nodes.
>
> As heretical as this last sounds, I'm tempted to throw in the towel on
> my PhD studies because I can no longer afford the power to run my
> three node cluster at home.  Energy costs may end up being the straw
> that breaks this camel's back.
>
> Mark E. Kosmowski
>
> > From: "Jon Aquilina" <eagles051387 at gmail.com>
>
> >
> > not sure if this applies to all kinds of senarios that clusters are used in
> > but isnt the more ram you have the better?
> >
> > On 6/30/08, Vincent Diepeveen <diep at xs4all.nl> wrote:
> > >
> > > Toon,
> > >
> > > Can you drop a line on how important RAM is for weather forecasting in
> > > latest type of calculations you're performing?
> > >
> > > Thanks,
> > > Vincent
> > >
> > >
> > > On Jun 30, 2008, at 8:20 PM, Toon Moene wrote:
> > >
> > > Jim Lux wrote:
> > >>
> > >> Yep.  And for good reason.  Even a big DoD job is still tiny in Nvidia's
> > >>> scale of operations. We face this all the time with NASA work.
> > >>>  Semiconductor manufacturers have no real reason to produce special purpose
> > >>> or customized versions of their products for space use, because they can
> > >>> sell all they can make to the consumer market. More than once, I've had a
> > >>> phone call along the lines of this:
> > >>> "Jim: I'm interested in your new ABC321 part."
> > >>> "Rep: Great. I'll just send the NDA over and we can talk about it."
> > >>> "Jim: Great, you have my email and my fax # is..."
> > >>> "Rep: By the way, what sort of volume are you going to be using?"
> > >>> "Jim: Oh, 10-12.."
> > >>> "Rep: thousand per week, excellent..."
> > >>> "Jim: No, a dozen pieces, total, lifetime buy, or at best maybe every
> > >>> year."
> > >>> "Rep: Oh...<dial tone>"
> > >>> {Well, to be fair, it's not that bad, they don't hang up on you..
> > >>>
> > >>
> > >> Since about a year, it's been clear to me that weather forecasting (i.e.,
> > >> running a more or less sophisticated atmospheric model to provide weather
> > >> predictions) is going to be "mainstream" in the sense that every business
> > >> that needs such forecasts for its operations can simply run them in-house.
> > >>
> > >> Case in point:  I bought a $1100 HP box (the obvious target group being
> > >> teenage downloaders) which performs the HIRLAM limited area model *on the
> > >> grid that we used until October 2006* in December last year.
> > >>
> > >> It's about twice as slow as our then-operational 50-CPU Sun Fire 15K.
> > >>
> > >> I wonder what effect this will have on CPU developments ...
> > >>
> > >> --
> > >> Toon Moene - e-mail: toon at moene.indiv.nluug.nl - phone: +31 346 214290
> > >> Saturnushof 14, 3738 XG  Maartensdijk, The Netherlands
> > >> At home: http://moene.indiv.nluug.nl/~toon/
> > >> Progress of GNU Fortran: http://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2008-01/msg00009.html
> > >>
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
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> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Jonathan Aquilina
>
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