philosipical question

Walter B. Ligon III walt at
Mon Jul 17 08:10:20 PDT 2000


A Beowulf system has the following characteristics:

1) designed for parallel (high-performance) computing

2) dedicated nodes - private network

3) COTS hardware

4) open-source system software

It seems the question is this: is Myrinet or SCI considered COTS?  Depends
on what COTS mean.  I've heard it as "Commercial Off-The-Shelf" and as
"Commodity-Off-The-Shelf".  These products would fit the first definition
and not the second.

The original spirit of Beowulf was based on the second definition.  The idea
was to get the best price/performance possible from mass-produced parts.
At the same time I don't think anyone intended to exclude innovation in
new hardware, especially in the network.  I don't think most people today
would exclude Myrinet or SCI as a Beowulf - but as has already been pointed
out, this treads on the grounds of philosophical argument - I'd rather not
get into THAT fray!


Dr. Walter B. Ligon III
Associate Professor
ECE Department
Clemson University

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