undergrad senior project idea, help

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Thu Aug 29 15:21:04 PDT 2002

> If I understood your question correctly, you're interested in being able
> to make additional business cases to your school's administrators to
> explain why purchasing the gear to construct a cluster would continue to
> be useful to the school as well as an interesting project. If I've got
> it wrong, please ignore the rest. =]

I think this is critically important.  undergrad projects are supposed
to be not mere "recitations" - these days, building a cluster and 
running povray really fast is just that.  projects that make a real
contribution are the ones that lead to glowing faculty letters,
mentions in the local newspaper, etc.

so, find someone who can use the horsepower, scare up the money,
and improve the world a little bit.

someone else said:

| An important part of silliness in promoting clustering is cost
| effectiveness. Its the "we duct-taped these 30 PIII's together and it
| runs faster than a Cray that used to cost $20 million" ploy. Even the
| most cynical viewers will be impressed by scrap-bin supercomputing.

I guess that people would also be impressed with awareness of reliability.
after all, any sufficiently large compute cluster project 
must in large part also be a project in high-availability.
I'm guessing that 30 whitebox PCs are getting close to the point of 
"cpu-fan collapse", where the whole is just not useful to anyone because
it doesn't stay up long enough.  I guess that counts as another argument
against the undergrad-povray-project thing.

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