[Beowulf] Innovative liquid cooling

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Mar 7 09:53:24 PST 2013

On Thu, 7 Mar 2013, Gus Correa wrote:

> On 03/07/2013 05:48 AM, Hearns, John wrote:
>>> Why not beer as a coolant?  I can see it now
>>> "My cluster is cooled by Guinness"
>>> "Oh yeah?  Mine is cooled by London Pride!"
>> Joe, you are a genius.
>> But of course, the coolant of choice for Beowulfery should the craft ale from the Kernel Brewery
>> http://thekernelbrewery.com/
>> Brewed in a railway arch in south London, not far from where I live.
>> Very good, and when it opened the owner confirmed to me that yes, it is named in honour of the Linux kernel!
> Will the heat exchange spoil the liquid bread,
> or produce a new, Brewed on Beowulf, taste?
> Waiting for RGB's answer.

Generally, beer and ale should be brewed cold, specifically at or below
20C.  Beers, especially lagers are brewed colder than ales (ideally
lower than 10C, which is basically "German cave temperature") and
furthermore are cold aged (lagered), which will tolerate temperatures up
above 20C at the expense of altering the "fruitiness" of the final
product in not necessarily desirable ways, and personally I think of
22-23 C as being the upper bound of acceptable fermentation temperature
even for ales.

Using beer or ale as a coolant for a Beowulf is thus a spectacularly bad
idea, although one pleasant side effect of having a nice, cold server
room with a wee bit of extra room for a few fermentation vessels and a
stack of aging cases on one wall is the possibility of using it as a
coolant for Beowulf >>operators<<, who have heat loss and power
provisioning problems of their own.  This efficient re-use of a
carefully temperature controlled environment that is otherwise too cold
for normal humans to spend much time in is one that I can heartily
approve of.  At some point I may mount a full time wall unit that cools
the in-garage "shed" of my house so that it can serve as a double duty
brewery and server room.  We can only hope that, properly stimulated,
the art and science of beowulfery is lifted to new heights by this
confluence of benign apparatus.


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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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