[Beowulf] Capacity / Capability Computing

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Tue May 20 09:08:05 PDT 2008

> Definitions please.

they're lingo, and bad lingo at that, since the normal English meanings
don't give much of a clue.  some vendors like to talk "stale up vs scale
out", which is just as bad.

let's agree to use conventionally meaningful terms. 
for instance, when people say capacity, I think they usually mean 
"primarily serial or mock-parallel (embarassingly parallel, loosely coupled)"
when they say "capability", they mean "large, tightly-coupled".

come to think of it, "throughput" is another inherently poor term, widely
used.  I think people usually mean "lots of jobs per hour", but what they 
really mean is "lots of small jobs", since a "capability" cluster will
have high throughput as well, just bigger, fewer chunks...

I think it's pretty uncommon for people to use "capability" applied to 
large-memory serial machines, or fast-storage clusters.  the term has 
connotations of "grand challenge" problems, for whatever that's worth ;)

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