Beowulf Questions

Randall Jouett rules at
Sat Jan 4 04:11:35 PST 2003

Howdy Rupert (and all), and thanks for the reply.

Rupert Davey wrote:
 > 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.

Kewl. Exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks. I have 3
spare 1-GHz machines hanging around here, and I think
they'd be well suited for something like this, Rupert.
OTOH, this is just "fun stuff to do while I'm messing
around," and my main focus will be beowulf administration.
I also delve into computer security too, and I'd imagine
that security on a beowulf clusters can be VERY interesting :^).
I only hope that I don't have to do too much reading before
I get something up and running, although after doing this
stuff we all call computin' for 25 years, I know that this isn't
going to be the case -- not by a long shot.:^)

 > It takes .pov text files and converts them into .tga graphics
 > files.

Ok. Kewl. Personally, I'm planning on converting them over to
jpg to save disk space (and memory when editing). Since I'm just
messing around for enjoyment,thouh, I can live with losing a bit
of resolution and color.

 > 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.

Okie doke. I'll make sure I download all programs mentioned
before I go to sleep tonight. Thanks!

 > 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.

Hmmm. Not familiar with BEOLIN, although it does sound
like a beowulf-specific version of Linux? If so, too

 > -> pov-ray
 > ->pvm
 > -. PVMPOV

Thanks for the links!

 > 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.
 > :).

Well, from one neophyte to another, I'll just say thanks and
a job well done :^). Who am I to correct anyone when discussing
this subject, although I've become a bit familiar with hardware
and software development over the last 25 years. Hopefully, this
previous knowledge will be of help with learn the this beowulf
stuff :^).

One thing that has me rather perplexed is that I didn't notice
beowulf setups from Industrial Light and Magic, Amblin(sic?)
and the like in the projects list on You'd think
that some of these shops would be proud to announce that they're
using a setup like this, huh? OTOH, I just thought about something,
and I guess that they can afford all of that high-end SGI gear
and what not, so who needs a beowulf cluster? OTOH yet again :^),
whose not into saving millions of bucks on rendering gear? Hmmm.
Maybe LightWave hasn't been ported to a parallel environment yet
or something? (Shrug.)

BTW, I just came up with YADDA (Yet Another Damn Dumb Assessment :^)).
With the Lindows and the Linux XBox projects floating around, I
wonder if a person could build an el-cheapo beowulf setup for a
few grand? I mean, the Lindows and XBox machines can be had at
Wally World for around $200.00 bucks or so. You'd think they'd make a
semi-decent cluster, and the XBox machines would have the added
advantage of being able to be used as an XBox network for game
parties. Not only that, but the XBox footprint is pretty damn
small, especially when compared to something like a mid-tower
(or larger) case. I can see it now. XBox parties after work at
ORNL, LBL, and JPL, and all the physicists there are trashing
the hell out of the physics model used in some racing game or
something. :^) :^)

Ok. On to answering more e-mails...

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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