Beowulf Questions

Rupert Davey rupertdavey at
Fri Jan 3 15:49:54 PST 2003

Hi Randall and all

I have used PVMPOV for ray-tracing.  It is the POV-Ray application with
a PVM patch applied to it.  It works very well and the XPVM interface
allows all the processes and communications to be seen.  It takes .pov
text files and converts them into .tga graphics files.  My small cluster
of four 750MHz Athlons, does skyvase.pov in about 30 seconds.  PVMPOV is
easy-ish to setup and configure and once its all done you have a nice
face rendering system.
This uses PVM3.4.3, POV-Ray v3.1 and the PVMPOV3-1g-1.

Other things like BEOLIN are Beowulf specific and don't require PVM to
be on each node.  This addresses issues of external node access and
pipes ALL the processes via the frontend. -> pov-ray ->pvm -. PVMPOV

Please feel free to correct me if any of that is wrong, I kinda a newbie
myself.  Doing a final year degree project on this stuff.


Rupert Davey

-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-admin at [mailto:beowulf-admin at] On
Behalf Of Randall Jouett
Sent: 03 January 2003 08:47
To: beowulf at
Subject: Beowulf Questions


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?

* 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.

* Is there a beowulf chess engine out there? If so, has it
   ever played in the computer chess championship, and how
   did it perform?

* Is anyone working on beowulf clustering based on trusted-host
   computing? That is, instead of having a local cluster of
   numerous computers in various racks, a person could say something
   like, "I trust this host and that host, and if any of them want
   to use my excess CPU time over the Internet, then they are welcome
   to use my broadband-connected machine for their purposes. In other
   words, this would be a setup much like the SETI screen blanker, yet
   the screen blanker would be removed and out of the loop. Anyone doing
   this? If not, I'm interested in giving this a shot. (Send e-mail or
   post here, and I'll give a verbose explanation of the way I see
   something like this working.)

  * Is anyone using real-time versions of Unix(TM) in their beowulf
    setup? If so, did they/you notice a significant increase in
    processing speed? Personally,and off the top of my head, I'd
    think the main bottleneck is the MPI and network communications.

   [This next one will be a bit "out there," but what the hell -- no
    guts no glory! :^) ]

  * Is anybody working on a model that encompasses nano-technology?
    That is, is there anyone out there working on algorithms that
    would allow nano-bots to communicate and process information in
    a beowulf-like manner?

Anywho, TIA, and feel free to answer any of the questions, even
if you can't answer them all. The way I see things, a bit of knowledge 
gained is better than no knowledge at all....

Best Regards,


Randall Jouett
Amateur Radio: AB5NI

I eat spaghetti code out of a bit bucket while sitting at a hash table!

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