[Beowulf] PVM or ???

Timo Mechler mechti01 at luther.edu
Fri Aug 27 20:29:52 PDT 2004

Hi all,

I'm in the process of building my first ever beowulf cluster and have come
here to ask for some advice pertaining to what parallel computing system I
should go with.  With the intention of keeping this email as short and
conscise as possible, perhaps the best way to start out is to list what
I'm going to be using on the hardware side of things:

Number of machines:  15 (expected to grow to 24 and possibly larger)
CPU Speed:  Anything from a dual Pentium 3 550mhz system to Pentium 2
233mhz systems
RAM:  Anywhere from 256mb to 64mb
Network:  100mbit CAT5
OS:  Slackware 9.1 Linux
Switch:  D-Link 24 port 10/100mbit

As you can see their is some diversity present in my hardware setup. 
Given that fact, my initial intentions where to go with PVM.  I have
successfully setup PVM on a subset of these machines in the past and it
has worked out great.  However, do you guys think PVM would be the best
solution for this setup, or could I also with MPI or some variant of it? 
I'm using all x86 systems so I thought this might be possible.  Are there
still a lot of people out there that use PVM?  That was another one of my
concerns that led my thinking towards MPI.  How about programming
difficulty?  I've never done any parallel programming for PVM or MPI.

Finally, once again looking at my setup above, does anyone else have any
suggestions for improvement in terms of operating system or hardware?

Thanks in advance for your help.  The knowledge I've gained so far from
this mailing list has been priceless.  Thank you!


-Timo Mechler

Timo R. Mechler
mechti01 at luther.edu

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