[Beowulf] A press release

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Jul 10 15:07:38 PDT 2008

> As to clustering... Latency would be a "bit" of a problem. PDP-8s only support
> serial and synchronous "networks". 9600 baud won't quite make it as a high
> performance cluster infrastructure ;-)
> PDP-11s do have 10Base Ethernet. But running TCP/IP on a PDP-11 is incredibly
> slow (even if running BSD Unix). It take just about everything the processor
> has just to push the packets out. So one could create a true ethernet cluster
> infrastructure - but there wouldn't be much processor power left over to do
> calculations.
> So as much as I love these old beasties, they just don't make great clusters,
> sigh...
> On the other hand, VAXes just might :-)

"Great" as in the meaning of "not great at all"?

The real question is how many kiloVAXes it would take to equal the ONE
laptop I'm typing this reply on...

Moore's law is cruel, alas.

OTOH, if we ignore trying to build an antique cluster for WORK and focus
on doing it for FUN, a 10-system PDP-1 cluster with 9600 baud serial
connections becomes a simply smashing idea... although finding ones with
all their bits intact is perhaps a bit of a problem.


> Cheers,
> Lyle

Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
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Web: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb
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