Beowulf Questions

Donald Becker becker at
Fri Jan 3 10:42:21 PST 2003

On Fri, 3 Jan 2003, Randall Jouett wrote:

> Newbie alert, although I have ready the FAQ, visited a couple
> of the project sites listed on, and even read a
> HOWTO or 3 :^). Being a software engineer, I'll just say that
> I'm way too familiar with RTFM and google searches :^).
> Basically, I'm looking for the following info:
> * Is there a beowulf setup out that that is used to
>    gernerate ray-traced graphics? If so, does anyone
>    have a links to sites that in-depth info?

Various ports of POV-Ray are available for PVM and MPI, with a very wide
range of quality and performance.

We distribute a version of POV-Ray specifically ported for our cluster
system and BeoMPI. Our POV-ray port is interesting because
    It transparently uses all available cluster nodes, and works even if
     that number is '0'.
    It does all of the serial setup and run-time I/O on the front end
      machine (technically, the MPI rank 0 node).  This minimizes
      overall work and keeps the POV-Ray call-out semantics unchanged
    It does the rendering only on compute nodes (except for the N=0 case). 
    It complets the rendering even with crashed or slow nodes.

> * Is there a beowulf setup out there setup specifically
>    for random-number generation, with its main focus on
>    generating "truly random" numbers, if you can say that
>    synchronus, clock-based computers are capable of generating
>    truly random numbers :^). If so, has a cluser of this type been
>    used in encryption and decryption purposes.

This is trivial.  Once you get a good a serial pseudo-random number
generator, you can use a cluster to generate more.

> * Is anyone working on beowulf clustering based on trusted-host
>    computing? That is, instead of having a local cluster of
>    words, this would be a setup much like the SETI screen blanker, yet

This wouldn't be a Beowulf cluster.  (It's a stretch to call it a
cluster at all.)
Cycle scavenging is different concept, and it only to a tiny percentage
of problems.

(People have heated discussions about cluster I/O performance and
communication latency.  With cycle-scavenging, these are orders of
magnitude worse.)

Donald Becker				becker at
Scyld Computing Corporation
410 Severn Ave. Suite 210		Scyld Beowulf cluster system
Annapolis MD 21403			410-990-9993

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