[Beowulf] newbie

John Hearns hearnsj at googlemail.com
Mon Apr 20 23:19:22 PDT 2009

2009/4/20 Tomislav Maric <tomislav.maric at gmx.com>:
> Hi everyone,
> I'm a mechanical engineering graduate student from Croatia (Europe :) and
> I'm doing computational continuum mechanics simulations using OpenFOAM
> (http://www.opencfd.co.uk/openfoam/).

Sounds good!

>     I have a NOW (6 workstations) running OpenSUSE Linux at my disposal to
> do what ever I want with it, and I'm thinking of beowulfing it.
That is a great start!

But you do not need to devote a lot of time to this.
All you need to do is:

a) allocate one machine as a 'head node'
b) install the nfsserver package on this machine
c) export /usr/local plus /opt as an NFS share - mount this on the
other 7 workstations
d) install OpenFoam under /usr/local
e) install an MPI version under /usr/local or /opt - I would go for OpenMPI now
   (do not go down the path of looking at Gamma, or indeed the old
advice on Beowulf sites about channel bonding - you want to get this
stuff up and running over the existing network)

f) as a student you get to use the Intel compilers under a free
development license

g) if you want a fast network, buy eight decent gigabit cards - Intel
e1000 probaby, and a small gigabit switch

Learn how to launch your jobs using OpenMPI - there, you have a Beowulf!

The thrust of my email is that you should nto concentrate on systems
management/networking topology etc.
You have all the kit to get OpenFoam running now - so go for it!
And take my advice - if you are going for a job in the future, being
able to say that 'I got OpenFoam up and running,
and running some real cases on my home system" counts for a lot.

Please let us know you you progress!

John Hearns

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