[Beowulf] Can Beowulf with Linux run all the desktop applications

Nifty Tom Mitchell niftyompi at niftyegg.com
Tue Feb 24 16:10:11 EST 2009


On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 02:06:26PM -0500, Robert G. Brown wrote:
....
>
> As it is, almost by DEFINITION parallelization of desktop apps doesn't
> matter, in human terms, except that it would probably slow them down.
>

With the possible exception set of improvements that multicore addresses.

The low hanging fruit might be open-MP style issues where compilers can
detect chunks to speed up and run on multiple cores.  Having said that
the bulk of performance parallel work has been focused on floating point
hardware use and that is not the desktop.

Next might be threads.  With multiple cores multiple threads can 
handle events and other parallel work by running on multiple 
cores.  Sadly the art of restrained thread coding is almost
absent.  Authors seem to always have one more thread than cores
and then run multiple copies oversubscribing the hardware and
squandering the shared commons.

Not low hanging but perhaps more productive would be a multi-core
redesign of X and the desktop model.   About once a year I entertain 
myself by running X remotely over serial line IP.   When a single
mouse click triggers multiple redraws of the screen with no
visible difference it is clear to me that long thin pasta was
the programmers mantra.   At this point the task is so large
that I have no illusions that it will be done.  I suspect that
the groups most able to address this are also the groups most vested in 
the status quo (graphics, CPU and memory companies).

nVidea and others do marvels in their drivers and hardware but 
they do not apply too much effort in the 'shared commons' where
differentiation is the marketing mandate.

Still it is an open source world.
-- 
	T o m  M i t c h e l l 
	Found me a new hat, now what?

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