[Beowulf] Re: Cluster newbie, power recommendations

Charlie Peck charliep at cs.earlham.edu
Tue Mar 21 09:52:54 PST 2006

On Mar 21, 2006, at 12:35 PM, David Mathog wrote:

> Charlie Peck <charliep at cs.earlham.edu> wrote
>> I think clusters like the one Eric wants to build have /significant/
>> educational value, both in the building and the use.  How else does 
>> one
>> learn to do parallel/distributed programming if not on a cluster, even
>> a "toy" one?  Sure the single AMD64 will be more powerful but it won't
>> provide an opportunity to learn about message passing, speedup,
>> efficiency, problem decomposition, etc.
> Interesting question that, how else might this be done?
> I wonder if one couldn't set up a single modern computer,
> with a fast CPU and tons of memory, as N virtual machines, for
> instance using VMware, and then run a sort of virtual cluster?
> Obviously there wouldn't be any performance advantage to doing
> this but it might allow the subject to be taught when a real
> clusters isn't available.

Certainly, but the network performance would be very skewed since it 
will be done as memcpy()'s rather than actual packets passing through 
stacks and hardware.  This would make the scaling, speedup, etc. fairly 


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