[Beowulf] Network considerations for new generation cheap beowulfcluster

Larry Stewart larry.stewart at sicortex.com
Wed May 23 14:20:02 PDT 2007

Peter St. John wrote:

> Mostly I was thinking of TMC (famous for the animation in Jurassic 
> Park), 1982-1994, from MIT, mostly acquired by Sun; so something from 
> CalTech maybe predating that, or competing with it, would be very 
> interesting. I'll look, thanks.
> My only artifacts are DOS 3.2 and SVr4 manuals :-)
> Peter
> On 5/23/07, *Jim Lux* <James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov 
> <mailto:James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov>> wrote:
>     At 10:52 AM 5/23/2007, Peter St. John wrote:
>>     But oh and Jim if you recall any papers about this I could read
>>     that would be "Jim" Dandy.
>     I was working off memory, and the iPSC/1 and iPSC/2 manuals I have
>     in my office as a historical artifact. 
>     I seem to recall that if you google hypercube and intel, you'll
>     turn up some of the papers that were written early on.  The guys
>     who started with the hypercube interconnect were at CalTech, as I
>     recall, and spun off to form a supercomputer company embodying
>     that, which Intel also adopted.

The problem with hypercubes is that the number of NICs per node grows 
with the machine size.   Want to double your machine size? Then add a 
NIC to every node you already have.  The number of nics, or links, or 
cables, grows O(NlogN) for N nodes.  You get a machine diameter which is 
log N, which is nice, but there are ways to do that with a fixed number 
of NICs per node such as fat trees or the Kautz/deBruijn family.

TMC had, among other luminaries, Richard Feynman to help work out the 
routing software.


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