[Beowulf] What's the category of Beowulf among Clusters?

Lux, James P james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Sat Dec 20 07:57:00 PST 2008

On 12/20/08 6:41 AM, "Liang Yupeng" <start2046 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Lux, James P wrote:
>> I've been looking over the Beowulf book by Seamus Heaney, and I can't find
>> any reference to clus
in it, so maybe Wikipedia has been misled? Perhaps
>> it's a translation issue?<grin>

> Thanks for your reply, but "no reference in the book" does not mean that
> Beowulf is not a cluster, does it?

Especially since that particular book is a translation of the epic poem
about Beowulf.
(my daughter is using an older translation in her 10th grade english class,
and prefers the new one)

>> Beowulf -> the definition evolves.. But.. I'd say it's a bunch of
>> interconnected commodity computers intended to form a single computational
>> resource. Some would add "running open source software" Commodity is
>> important. It's not special purpose hardware, but leverages the economies of
>> scale to minimize cost.  Bunch of interconnected is important.(no vector
>> processors).  Single computational resource -> you can devote the entire
>> cluster to  just one problem, as opposed to, say, a mass of transaction
>> processing boxes or web servers in a high availability cluster.
> Maybe I didn't get you (sorry for that), it looks like that your
> explanation on Beowulf  not the category about it but the description.
> Thank you all the same.

True enough.. But I'm not sure that developing a HPC taxonomy adds value to
the process of doing the computation, or, more to the point, to selecting an
appropriate way to solve one's particular computational needs.

It's not like most folks sit there with their problem and try to analyze it
in terms of some computing taxonomy.  The "spectrum" of possible ways to
build a computer is small enough that you can conceptualize them all
simultaneously.  It's not like trying to decide where to put a particular
hummingbird in the Linnaean scheme. (K P C F G S, etc.)


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