[Beowulf] Good demo applications for small, slow cluster

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Wed Aug 21 13:35:25 PDT 2013


On Wed, 21 Aug 2013, Douglas Eadline wrote:

>
>> Sorts in general.. Good idea.
>>
>> Yes, we'll do a distributed computing bubble sort.
>>
>> Interesting, though.. There are probably simple algorithms which are
>> efficient in a single processor environment, but become egregiously
>> inefficient when distributed.
>
> e.g. The NAS parallel suite has an integer sort (IS) that is
> very latency sensitive.
>
> For demo purposes, nothing beats parallel rendering.
> There used to be a PVM and MPI POVRay packages
> that demonstrated faster completion times as more nodes were
> added.

Yeah, but the last time I tried it, it was so fast on a single CPU that
it was hard to see any real benefit any more.  Moore's Law is a
bitch...;-)

Ditto the parallel version of the mandelbrot set renderer.  It would
need to be rewritten in quad precision resolution, I think, to make it
slow enough single CPU to show good scaling.  It's not that it doesn't
still speed things up, only that you can't SEE things sped up when it
just flickers (almost) straight up on the screen either way.

A really complicated image with POVray might still do it, though, one
with lots of shading and aliasing and lots of objects.  The default
demo, though, is pretty fast on a multi-GHz CPU even one at a time.

    rgb

>
> --
> Doug
>
>
>>
>> Jim
>>
>>
>>
>> On 8/20/13 12:11 PM, "Max R. Dechantsreiter" <max at performancejones.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Hi Jim,
>>>
>>> How about bucket sort?
>>>
>>> Make N as small as need be for cluster capability.
>>>
>>> Regards,
>>>
>>> Max
>>> ---
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Tue, 20 Aug 2013 maxd at performancejones.com wrote:
>>>
>>>> Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2013 00:23:53 +0000
>>>> From: "Lux, Jim (337C)" <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov>
>>>> Subject: [Beowulf] Good demo applications for small, slow cluster
>>>> To: "beowulf at beowulf.org" <beowulf at beowulf.org>
>>>> Message-ID:
>>>> 	<F7B6AE13222F1B43B210AA4991836895236966E9 at ap-embx-sp40.RES.AD.JPL>
>>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>>>>
>>>> I'm looking for some simple demo applications for a small, very slow
>>>> cluster that would provide a good introduction to using message passing
>>>> to implement parallelism.
>>>>
>>>> The processors are quite limited in performance (maybe a  few MFLOP),
>>>> and they can be arranged in a variety of topologies (shared bus, rings,
>>>> hypercube) with 3 network interfaces on each node.  The processor to
>>>> processor link probably runs at about 1 Mbit/second, so sending 1 kByte
>>>> takes 8 milliseconds
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> So I'd like some computational problems that can be given as
>>>> assignments on this toy cluster, and someone can thrash through getting
>>>> it to work, and in the course of things, understand about things like
>>>> bus contention, multihop vs single hop paths, distributing data and
>>>> collecting results, etc.
>>>>
>>>> There's things like N-body gravity simulations, parallelized FFTs, and
>>>> so forth.  All of these would run faster in parallel than serially on
>>>> one node, and the performance should be strongly affected by the
>>>> interconnect topology.  They also have real-world uses (so, while toys,
>>>> they are representative of what people really do with clusters)
>>>>
>>>> Since sending data takes milliseconds, it seems that computational
>>>> chunks which also take milliseconds is of the right scale.  And, of
>>>> course, we could always slow down the communication, to look at the
>>>> effect.
>>>>
>>>> There's no I/O on the nodes other than some LEDs, which could blink in
>>>> different colors to indicate what's going on in that node (e.g.
>>>> communicating, computing, waiting)
>>>>
>>>> Yes, this could all be done in simulation with virtual machines (and
>>>> probably cheaper), but it's more visceral and tactile if you're
>>>> physically connecting and disconnecting cables between nodes, and it's
>>>> learning about error behaviors and such that's what I'm getting at.
>>>>
>>>> Kind of like doing biology dissection, physics lab or chem lab for
>>>> real, as opposed to simulation.  You want the experience of "oops, I
>>>> connected the cables in the wrong order"
>>>>
>>>> Jim Lux
>>>>
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>
>
> -- 
> Doug
>
> -- 
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu




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