[Beowulf] Confused over the term cluster

Douglas Eadline deadline at eadline.org
Sun Mar 30 12:27:39 PDT 2008

My short operational definition of a cluster is collection of
independent systems (motherboards) that communicate
over a private network/interconnect, none of which
are dependent on the other for operating, with
excetion of the head/master/gateway node.

Under this definition, a multi-core node is not a cluster
nor is any design whose operation is dependent
upon shared memory between nodes, even though the
nodes are separate systems. Of course this is my

BTW, I believe the following is also used:

P=cores/processors per node

P>=N = cluster
N<P = constellation


> Hi,
> I am kinda confused with term cluster and now am sure if this where I can
> post my question. What exactly can be defined as a cluster ?, We have a 32
> node cluster in our lab. and the number 32 here is referred to 32 separate
> machines ( each with its own processor ). What about the new machines
> like,
> dual core processors or the quad core processors, are those considered
> clusters also. For example, should we refer to a quad core processor as a
> cluster of 4 processors. Hope someone out there could explain. Thanks
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