[Beowulf] Simple Cluster

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Fri Dec 12 13:27:22 EST 2003

At 08:40 AM 12/12/2003 -0500, Robert G. Brown wrote:
>On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 rmd003 at sympatico.ca wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > Would anyone know if it is possible to make a cluster with four P1
> > computers? If it is possible are there any instructions on how to do
>Sure.  There are instructions in my column in Cluster World 1,1 that
>should suffice.  There is also a bunch of stuff that might be enough in
>resources linked to http:/www.phy.duke.edu/brahma/index.php, including
>an online book on clusters.  You can probably get free issues including
>this one with a trial subscription at the clusterworld website.
>The problems I can see with using Pentiums at this point are:
>   a) likely insufficient memory and disk unless you really work on the
>linux installation;
>   b) a single $500 vanilla box from your local cheap vendor would be
>MUCH MUCH MUCH faster.  As in MUCH faster.  Raw CPU clock a factor of
>10, add a factor of 2 to 4 for CPU family and more memory and so forth.
>Likely ten or more times faster than your entire cluster of four
>Pentiums on a good day.  SO your cluster needs to be a "just for fun"
>cluster, for hobbyist or teaching purposes, and would still be much
>better (faster and easier to build) with more current CPUs and systems
>with a minimum of 128 to 256 MB of memory each.

Unless you've got computers for free, and your time is free, Robert's words 
are well spoken..

That said.. if you just want to fool with MPI, for instance, and, you've 
got institutional computing resources running WinNT floating around on the 
network, the MPICH-NT version works quite well.  My first MPI program used 
this, with one node being an OLD, OLD ('98-'99 vintage) Win NT4.0 box on a 
P1, and the other node being a PPro desktop, also running NT4.0

I wrote and compiled everything in Visual C... (4 or 5, I can't recall 
which...) and I started working on a wrapper to allow use in Visual Basic, 
for a true thrill..

James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Telecommunications Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
tel: (818)354-2075
fax: (818)393-6875

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