[Beowulf] Southampton engineers a Raspberry Pi Supercomputer
diep at xs4all.nl
Wed Sep 12 10:00:24 PDT 2012
> When you are trying to educate people about cluster computing, the
> important thing is conveying the difficulties (both performance and
> infrastructure related) working at scale -- not simply showing off
> the thing is "faster."
HPC and beowulf are *only* about performance and nothing else.
What you write is kind of: "i get my salary anyway and i like to toy
with useless hardware".
Clusters *always* are wasting power, are loud, overexpensive, have
all sorts of problems,
and can only be fast if you program for them in a very specific manner.
They CAN be used however to take a look into the future what you
CANNOT calculate at a single
machine for the same price.
You mentionned something about price. Look at ebay.
I know most professors don't like looking there.
$2000 for 85 machines ready to use:
Build a 85 core cluster with it @ 320 GB.
If you explain it's for students and offer $850 the guy might take
the bid as well.
There is also bunches of 4 core offers of dual xeon dual core 51xx
type processor machines. Those are pretty fast actually
and if you build a cluster with THEM, you really have big crunching
power to impress all your students - not just the geek who
walks on jerusalem sandals.
> Remember, students are paying CUSTOMERS for the
> education; you should assume they are already interested in the
> and theory. It's not the educators job to spark this interest or feed
> some flop-lust, but it is their job to expose as much of the theory
> pragmatics to the student as possible. This IS possible with MANY
> slower machines, but ISN'T possible with FEW faster machines. If a
> students are being stubborn like you and want to drop the class
> the cluster isn't "fast enough," their loss.
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