Good Tutorial for Clusters

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Tue May 7 12:07:14 PDT 2002

On Tue, 7 May 2002, samson swanson wrote:

> hello again,
> I been looking for a good tutorial on building my
> cluster. The ones I found so far seem to be really
> general.  (i.e. set the master to work with the slave
> nodes)
> hmm don't know how to do that, and tutorial that
> explains what they tell you to do?

I'm not sure what you've found so far, but look at the various resources
on  In particular:

and my very own

all seem to still work.  Pondermatic is written in tutorial style; the
rest may be too information dense or sparse in what you are looking for
to help you get started, but they'll still be decent references.

Also look on

where the Clemson folks have assembled a truly awe-inspiring beowulf
resource collection.  No reply would be incomplete without referring to

as well ("beowulf on a CD").

These days building a "generic" cluster is often not more complex that
installing an out-of-the-box distr, e.g. RH 7.3 (released yesterday,
hooray) and hand-picking the beowulfish packages already therein, such
as pvm from the list of available RPM's.

So my own "short form" recipe:

  Assemble generic x86/amd boxen on switched 100BT network with "decent"
NICs from the supported list (no RTL's, please) and adequate memory and
disk, likely minimum 128 MB/2 GB these days.
  Install RH 7.x (x = 2,3)
  Install PVM, MPICH, maybe LAM-MPI rpm's
  Install OpenSSH (sorry, this is MY recipe rsh fans:-)
  Configure the network and hosts so they have shared NFS home
directories, shared accounts, and are mutually ssh-accessible without a
password.  Lots of books at Amazon or B&N will tell you how to do this.
Books there on PVM and MPI, as well.
  Run the example programs in e.g. /usr/share/pvm3.
  Write your own programs, using the examples as templates or finding
more advanced help as required.



Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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