new to clusters

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Tue Jun 17 11:06:42 EDT 2003

On Mon, 16 Jun 2003, Andrew Latham wrote:

> I have recently put together(just hardware) two small clusters. What would be a
> good simple project for a novice like myself to break myself and my clusters
> in. they are small and cheap but great for learning.
> 9 - Allen Bradley DataMytes - P133 - 64mb - Compaq NC3121
> 3 - IBM PC 365 6589-13U - Dual P-Pro200 - 128mb - Compaq NC3121
> is there a project that would be good to run to warm these boys up and teach me
> about managing a cluster.

Check out e.g. Forrest Hoffman's "Extreme Linux" Column in Linux
Magazine,  Forrest has been running a series of
tutorial articles on MPI (and in earlier issues, PVM).

The June LM issue had a number of articles on cluster infrastructure and

has links to lots of beowulf/cluster websites and other resources to
help facilitate learning as well.

Both PVM and MPI come with packages of "examples" of parallel programs,
some of which are quite fun as demos (e.g. mandelbrot set toys, pvmpov)
and others of which demonstrate at least some of the various parallel
programming paradigms.

Finally, there are a number of excellent books out there with tutorial
sections on cluster programming.  MIT press has a series of books on
both MPI and PVM and a companion volume on beowulfs that is probably
"the" beowulf book, again with numerous examples.  There are a number of
books on parallel algorithms:  Amalsi and Gottlieb, Foster,... (I can't
remember if I have a list linked to brahma or not -- I should probably
put one there).

That ought to be enough to get you going through the toy cluster stage
to where you can be teaching and learning with a good appreciation for
the basic toolset.


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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