COTS was Re: [Beowulf] 96 Processors Under Your Desktop

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Wed Sep 1 14:16:02 PDT 2004

On Wed, 1 Sep 2004, Greg Lindahl wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 01, 2004 at 12:41:24PM -0700, Jim Lux wrote:
> > "requires time and expertise to set up" is of course what makes clusters (as
> > a completed system) not COTS, even though the components or subassemblies
> > may be COTS.
> I learn a new definition of COTS every day. I hadn't seen this one
> before.  I suppose all the parents struggling to assemble toys on Xmas
> eve can console themselves that the mass-market item they bought at
> Wal-Mart isn't COTS...

And turnkey beowulf systems (built of COTS components) have been around
for many years now.  In fact, some list members (ahem;-) have built and
sold them.

So the new computer cluster (orien?), with a new CPU, is actually
FARTHER from COTS -- especially if the new CPU is designed only for use
in the cluster market.  Hopefully it isn't -- it's questionable as to
whether the cluster market can sustain a specialty CPU with so many COTS
alternatives that stay cheap because they are mass marketed.

Wal Mart sells compute nodes, too, if you want to use their cheap
systems for that purpose.


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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