[Beowulf] how do I get started?

Eric Thibodeau kyron at neuralbs.com
Thu Jul 17 07:55:45 PDT 2008

See below,

Mark Kosmowski wrote:
> 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.
Here is an example with one-lined "script" for the ssh password less logon:

> 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.
Well... once I "finish" my Google Summer of Code project, people like 
you will have a fun playground with graphical examples (as well as 
serious people for serious HPC...but they won't admit to that and keep 
using RH as an OS :P)

> Good luck!
> Mark E. Kosmowski

Eric Thibodeau
>> 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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