new list member has few questions.

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Tue Dec 5 08:16:12 PST 2000

On Tue, 5 Dec 2000, Aram Kim wrote:

> Hi, guys!  I just started learning about the beowulf systems, and I had
> few questions related to the subject.
> 1. Do softwares have to be written to take the advantage of the system
> in order to see improvement?  For instance, if I were to run a program
> that just does a really high number of loops, would it run any faster?
> 2. What would be the disadvantage of using nodes that have different
> computer processors?  My roommate and I are planning to make a small
> cluster just to learn about the system and we're going to start with
> just two nodes, a pentium pro at 200Mhz and a pentium 3 at 500Mhz.  We
> might add a 486, just for fun.
> 3. If a big corporation running windows OS's(2k, NT, 98) on their
> computers and wanted to use those computers as beowulf clusters at
> night, how hard would that be to implement?  I would assume that
> harddrive partitioning and linux installation would be quite difficult
> to do on top of the pre-existing operation system environment on every
> single computer.  Could it be possible to automate this process?

The answers to these and far more questions are available online.  Look
on and/or for links to e.g.
Kragen Sitaker's Beowulf FAQ (answers 1 right away, for example), The
Beowulf HOWTO by Jacek Radajewski and Douglas Eadline, the beowulf
underground, and of course the online beowulf book Doug Eadline and I
(with help from a growing number of volunteers) are writing.  In the
book (even in the current snapshot) I'm pretty sure that all of these
questions are answered in detail, for example.  The online snapshot is
on the brahma site.


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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