[Beowulf] A cluster of Arduinos

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Thu Jan 12 09:39:23 EST 2012


The average guy is not interested in knowing all details regarding  
how to
play tennis with a wooden racket from the 1980s, just around
the time when McEnroe was on the tennisfield playing there.

Most people are more interested in whether you can win that grandslam
with what you produce.

The nerds however are interested in how well you can do with a wooden  
racket
from 1980s,therefore projecting your own interest upon those students  
will just
get them desinterested and you will be judged by them as an  
irrelevant person
in their life, whose name they soon forget.

Vincent

On Jan 12, 2012, at 2:58 PM, Ellis H. Wilson III wrote:

> On 01/11/2012 09:03 PM, Vincent Diepeveen wrote:
>> The whole purpose of PC's is that they are generic to use. I remember
>> how in past decision taking bought low clocked junk for big price -
>> much against the wish of the sysadmins who wanted a PC for every
>> student exclusively. Outdated slow junk is not interesting
>> to students. Now you and i might like that CPU as it's under $1, but
>> to them it's just 70Mhz, factor 500 slower than their home PC single
>> core
>> is. What impresses is if you got something that can beat their own
>> machine at home.
>>
>> In the end in science we basically learn a lot easier if we can take
>> a look into the future - so being faster than a single PC is a good
>> example of that.
>
> Take this advice in any other area, let's say, Chemical Engineering or
> Mechanical Engineering, and the students are going to come out the of
> the experience with chemical burns at least to at most blowing up half
> of the building.  In the best case all they do is screw up very, very
> expensive equipment.  So I have to respectfully disagree that learning
> is only possible and students will only be interested when working on
> the stuff of the "future."  I think this is likely the reason why many
> introductory engineering classes incorporate use of Lego Mindstorm
> robots rather than lunar rovers (or even overstock lunar rovers :D).
>
> Point in case, I got interested in HPC/Beowulfery back in 2006, read
> RGBs book and a few other texts on it, and finally found a small group
> (4) of unused PIIIs to play on in the attic of one of my college's
> buildings.  Did I learn how to setup a reasonable cluster?  Yes.   
> Was it
> slow as dirt compared to then modern Intel and AMD processors?  Of
> course.  But did the experience get me so completely hooked on
> HPC/Cluster research that I went on to pursue a PHD on the topic?
> Absolutely.
>
> Granted, I'm just one data point, but I think Jim's idea has all the
> right components for a great educational experience.
>
> Best,
>
> ellis
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