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The news in this category has been selected by us because we thought it would be interestingto hard core cluster geeks. Of course, you don't have to be a cluster geek to read the news stories.

Or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Recently, I had a chance to talk with Eric Thibodeau about his Google Summer of Code Cluster project. It seems Eric and Donnie Berkholz have been working hard on Using Gentoo, Seed Linux and Catalyst, to provide an easy access to a Beowulf clustering/HPC environment to everyday users. i.e. a live cluster Gentoo CD/DVD. The following is Eric's status report.

Time to buy that new lunch box

The Georgetown University Advanced Research Computing (ARC) has updated the training schedule. In case you hvae not noticed, the ARC division has created a certification program for computer systems administrators wanting to advance in the field of high performance and high throughput computing.

The Systems Administration Certification program consists of two required courses and a series of 1-3 day elective courses. The four-day Introduction to High Performance Computing is the required entry point to the program. Students with strong UNIX/Linux administration skills will complete this course able to plan, design, build, benchmark, and administer a Beowulf cluster. The current schedule is as follows:

I call it a PCU not a GPGPU

In case you have been hard at work on your latest breakthrough, there has been some news on the GPU processing front. What is GPU processing and why should I care you ask? The idea is rather interesting. Drawing pixels on screens is a parallel problem. Video card manufactures have taken advantage of this by placing many parallel graphics processors on their video chips. Current generation video chips now use General Purpose (GP) processors for this task. The "general purpose" feature means that graphics hardware can be now be used for parallel (predictable) computing problems. (i.e. an array multiplication is a predictable operation). You can find more background by consulting the article Pixels to PetaFLOPS: How GPUs are Pushing the HPC Envelope and (General Purpose Graphical Processing Units). By the way, that is too many G's and P's for me. I like to think of it as heterogeneous computing or simply a Parallel Computing Unit (PCU). As an HPC geek, I like to think of it as PCU that can also do video, but in reality it is the other way around. We have the gamers to thank. So a big thank-you to those useless gamer types that everybody complains about. Keep playing (and buying) games and hardware. You are helping to subsidize the cure for all the ailments you will suffer from not going outside in your youth.

Over the past year or two, I have been slowly creating a large set of Open MPI training material that I've used to present to my company's customers and partners. I have just recently received permission to release video presentations of all of my slides to the greater HPC community. Woo hoo!
Could there be a more shameless plug?

Back by popular demand, the ARC at Georgetown University has for some strange reason decided to offer my Intermediate Beowulf Administration and Optimization course for a second time this March (18th-20th). The details and background are on the ARC HPC Training Page. Class size is limited, so if you have interest, sign up early. Course description is below. Excellent donuts.


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