[Beowulf] how do I get started?

Mark Kosmowski mark.kosmowski at gmail.com
Thu Jul 17 07:03:30 PDT 2008

I have a small cluster too (ok, had, I'm condensing to one big RAM
workstation at the moment).  Mine was a 3 node dual Opteron setup.

The first trick is to get each node to be able to ssh to every other
node without getting a password prompt.  It doesn't matter for the
calculation whether this is done by passwordless ssh or using some
keychain type applet.  All that matters for the calculation is that
each node be able to ssh without prompt to each other node.  This
means n! checks.  For my 3 node baby cluster I did this manually,
since 3! is 6.  More nodes - might want to make a script or something.

Next, you need to make your application parellel.  This typically
involves compiling with some sort of MPI.  I use OpenMPI.  MPICH is
another option.  This is going to be part of the learning curve.  When
you can <mpirun hostname> and get an output for each CPU (each core?)
you're ready to start wrestling with an MPI compile of your
application code.

If you're not used to compiling your own code, there may be a bit of a
learning curve for this also.

Good luck!

Mark E. Kosmowski
> Amir,
> Did you try any of the documents referenced at wiki,
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf_%28computing%29#See_also?
> There is a free downloadable book at Professor Brown's website, start at
> http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Beowulf/beowulf.php
> And I believe yes, you can use SSH to replace RSH pretty much anywhere. I
> haven't done that myself but I'm only a hobbyist.
> Good luck,
> Peter
> On 7/16/08, Amir Saad <eng_amirsaad at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > I'm trying to build a small Beowulf cluster using 5 Ubuntu machines. I did
> > a lot of search and yet couldn't find a getting started guide. Any ideas?
> >
> > All the articles I found are using RSH, is it possible to replace this with
> > password-less SSH? Would it be possible to use Ubuntu? Which packages should
> > I install to build the cluster?
> >
> > Please advice.
> >
> > Thank you
> >
> > Amir
> >
> >

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